Future in limbo for bright UZ student

Gaps in the Zimbabwe tertiary education student grants facility recently forced a poor but bright University of Zimbabwe student, Lloyd Chinyama (23), to defer his second year in Occupational Therapy studies with the faculty of medicine as he could not raise the required tuition fees.

Lloyd Chinyama : the fees are beyond my reach.
Lloyd Chinyama : the fees are beyond my reach.

Lloyd was expected to pay $1,100 in fees per semester including residential charges. His Marondera- based parents could not afford the fees, as they were not gainfully employed.

Lloyd told The Zimbabwean that his future was turning dimmer with each day as he might not raise the fees by August. “It pains me to realise that the required fees are beyond my reach and no grants are forthcoming,” said the student, who began his studies in August 2012 and was expecting to complete the four year degree programme in August 2016.

His dream was to become a professional physiotherapist and make positive contributions towards the development of his country. At ‘A’ levels completed at Marondera High, Lloyd passed three science subjects with 11 points. He scored ‘B’ in Mathematics, ‘B’ in Chemistry and ‘C’ in Physics.

His “O” Level results at Rakodzi High were equally impressive – four As in Physical Science, Integrated Science, Geography and History while “B” grades were for Mathematics, English Language and Biology.

Thousands of poor students from across the country share his sad circumstances. Non availability of the grants continues to force students out of educational institutions, while some resort to unorthodox means, such as prostitution, of raising fees.

Students in government tertiary institutions used to receive state grants for tuition fees, accommodation, transportation and other requirements.

When contacted for comment, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Olivia Muchena, referred The Zimbabwean to her permanent secretary as she was on leave. The permanent secretary was not reachable.

Recently, Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister, Godfrey Gandawa, was quoted in the media as saying government would reintroduce grants and loans this year. “Student grants are government’s top priority for 2014, since there is need to alleviate the plight of students in the country’s tertiary institutions,” Gandawa said.

He blamed the economic meltdown of the past decade for the suspension and limitations to the grant facility.

Post published in: Education
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