Higher education in dire straits, say students

students_assulted.jpgVictimisation on increase
Students beeing assaulted by Riot Squad Officers
The number of cases of victimisation of students has risen dramatically, according to the Students' Solidarity Trus

The Trust said it was disturbed by the appalling nature of human
rights violations against the student movement, especially given
commitments made by the inclusive government.

The continued arrests and suspension of student activists flies in the
face of the spirit of the global political agreement, and is testimony
to the fact that Zimbabwe's institutions of higher learning are still
hostile terrains that need reformation and transformation, said a
statement from the SST.

The Trust said that, while it recognised the government was trying to
tackle Zimbabwe's economic and political problems, it was neglecting
the crisis in higher education, including the fact that the University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) had been closed for more than a year.

We are also perturbed by recent press reports that Zimbabwe's central
bank raided the foreign currency accounts of universities to prop up
President Robert Mugabe's government, said the SST. The Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe withdrew money from the Africa University (AU) Public
Sector Management Programme forex current account and did not reimburse
the university.

Last month, students from the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST) carried out two protests – one against exorbitant
tuition fees and the other against a decision by university authorities
to bar students who failed to pay tuition fees from sitting exams.
Sixteen students were arrested and detained at Bulawayo central
police station. Two students were said to have sustained serious
injuries after they were assaulted by riot squad officers, and 10
student activists were suspended.

Students from Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) also demonstrated in
Masvingo. Thirteen students were arrested and detained at Rujeko police
station and 24 were picked up by police at Masvingo Polytechnic campus.

Those arrested included the ZINASU Legal Affairs Secretary Courage
Ngwarai who spent seven days in police custody before appearing in
court to be granted bail.



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