The newly-elected Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) executive says the government’s cadetship program, where the state pays fees for students in higher institutions of learning, has failed.
The students union now wants the government to reinstate the loans and grants scheme to enable all eligible students to attain tertiary education.
New ZINASU president Gilbert Mutubuki of the University of Zimbabwe told a news conference in the capital Monday that education has been commercialized and many students are failing to afford the exorbitant fees charged by the country’s universities and colleges.
He said the re-introduction of the grants and loan scheme would enable students from less privileged families to attain higher education.
The cadetship program, where government sponsors students in institutions of higher learning, has not been successful with the government failing to pay more than $61 million in fees to universities and colleges in the country in 2012 alone.
This has resulted in the institutions turning away students under the program.
Mutubuki lambasted government ministers for sending their children and relatives to study abroad while underfunding local universities and colleges.
He urged the Ministry of Finance to channel more funds towards the refurbishment of infrastructure at institutions of higher learning. Most buildings are in a state of dilapidation, posing a serious health threat to students.
The new executive, Mutubuki said, resolved that while ZINASU members will participate in national development they will remain independent and apolitical.
The out-going committee led by Pride Mukono recently complained that the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was interfering in the organization’s internal affairs.