Education Minister faces parliament over student grants

The minister of higher education, Stan Mudenge, on Monday appeared in front of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, after university students pressured legislators to make him account for his failure to release student grants and loans.

Stan Mudenge
Stan Mudenge

Mudenge has released no funds for student grants even though the last two budgets had funds allocated for that purpose. According to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), many students were failing to pay their tuition fees and were “desperate”.

ZINASU secretary general Tryvine Musokeri, who was at the hearing, said they were not happy because the committee asked Mudenge “silly questions” and students were only allowed to ask two questions.

Musokeri told SW Radio Africa that the education minister maintained his position that the ministry is underfunded and there is no money for grants and loans. He said Mudenge became “too emotional” when quizzed by the students and the committee chairman.

“He told us he owes money to several other institutions and had to allocate grant money to the cadetship scheme, which is not true because even students on cadetships at institutions around the country are yet to be catered for,” Musokeri explained.

The education minister was also asked to account for several other issues students are faced with, including the victimization of student leaders on campus. ZINASU says prospective candidates for leadership are not being allowed to campaign on campus and several have been suspended.

“Seven prospective candidates were suspended during SRC elections last year, including the current ZINASU president Clyde Mukono and myself when I was still the Midlands State University president,” Musokeri explained. He added that they were accused of distributing ZINASU t-shirts.

“We will have no choice but to hit the streets at all universities,” the student leader insisted. – SW Radio Africa News

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