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Zimbabwe Student Activists Urge Harare to Roll Out Tuition Finance Scheme

Student activist Kudakwashe Chakabva said that even with the release of A-level results, many students exiting secondary school will not be able to pursue university studies without financial assistance

Zimbabwe's Schools Examinations Council released A-level exam results this week, but student activists said many students completing their secondary education will not be able to afford to go to university without expanded financial assistance.

Student leaders say they continue to lobby officials to advance tuition funding proposals saying many students have dropped out because they could not afford fees.

Hopes were raised late last year when Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced a US$15 million student loan and grant program, but the scheme remains on the drawing board.

According to student representativest, university tuition at institutions such as University of Zimbabwe and the National University of Science and Technology range between US$400 to 800, per semester.

Representatives say that without the new program, students must rely on the government's so-called cadetship program entailing post-graduate service.

Zimbabwe National Students Union spokesman Kudakwashe Chakabva said that while pre-university students now have A-level results, he fears that many will not be able to pursue university studies and those from poor backgrounds will suffer most.

Other activists agree the loan and grant scheme must be implemented without delay.

Masimba Nyamanhindi, program coordinator with the Students Solidarity Trust, said the influence of partisan politica in education hurts students the most.