Students stand up for their exam rights

Scores of Great Zimbabwe University students in Masvingo last week stormed their main campus, protesting against an official decision to bar nearly 1,000 of their classmates from their end-of-year exams for failing to clear their arrears.

Olivia Muchena
Olivia Muchena

The students, all visibly angry, threatened to raze the institution’s administration block if their demands were ignored. They argued that they were supposed to be allowed to sit their exams even if they had not paid their school fees in full.

“The government has made it clear that we should be allowed to sit for our examinations and the institution will then hold on to our results until we clear the required fees,” said a student. “We will not allow a situation where even a single student is barred from sitting his or her examinations because he or she has not paid fees,” he added.

The students also attacked their Student Representative Council (SRC) for failing to address their concerns.

“The elections to choose a new leadership for our SRC are long overdue and authorities are aware of this,” said one of the students. “We are tired with the current SRC leadership, which we feel should leave office immediately and pave way for elections.”

Great Zimbabwe University spokesperson James July said students should know that the institution was not a free institution.

“Students should pay for their education,” he said. The students later dispersed after being assured that the police would take no action against them.

Recently, Olivia Muchena, the minister of higher education and science development, said it was against government policy for universities to deny students chance to be tested after failing to settle their fees.

“Students should be allowed to sit for their examinations even if they haven’t paid their fees,” she said. “All universities are aware of this and no-one should defy this directive.”

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