UZ students shocked as tuition goes up

University of Zimbabwe, the country’s oldest institution of tertiary learning which is scheduled to open its doors on the 24th of February has increased tuition by more than 10% in a move that has left the students community extremely shocked and hamstrung considering the prevailing state of the economy and the fact that most of these students come from families that are surviving on US1.00 per day.

Elite Club: Enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe now a preserve for the rich few.
Elite Club: Enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe now a preserve for the rich few.

This unjustified and ill advised increment is coming at a time when the government itself has failed to give civil servants a salary increment that is in line with the poverty datum line. The government has even failed to honour a US79 salary increment awarded to civil servants at the beginning of this year after civil servants threatened to down tools.

Students in the social sciences departments who used to pay USD 450 per semester are now being asked to fork out a staggering USD 502 at a time when most of the students’ parents and guardians are earning salaries that are by far below this amount from the formal and informal sectors of the economy.

Medical students are the hardest hit as they are now expected to pay more than USD 700 per semester after the fees have been unilaterally increased by close to USD 90. On top of this students who get compass accommodation are also expected to pay more for food and accommodation at the campus. At this rate education has been completely commodified as only the elites can now access it. The provision of basis and affordable education to all is now in rigor mortis.

Upon investigations the SST discovered that the recent illegal tuition increment has been triggered to benefit lecturers whose marking allowances are set to be increased in a clear case of robbing Peter to pay John. This is a direct indication that the lecturers have given up their fight with the government, their employer, for better working conditions and salaries. They are now preying on students who have a proven history of struggling to make ends meet which is tantamount to university students paying incentives to their lecturers like what is now the trend in most schools in Zimbabwe.

With this unwarranted set up the right to education which is now part of the expanded bill of rights (section 75) will remain a mere constitutional provision that students will never be in a position to enjoy. The state is mandated through section 75(b) to make further education progressively available and accessible through reasonable legislative and other measures. The recent increment is an affront to the right to education as it directly militates against education’s four cardinal points viz affordability, accessibility, adaptability and availability.

The Students Solidarity Trust urges the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), UZ Students Executive Council (SEC) and all the progressive student activists to unite in resisting the recent attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right to education. Be the voice of the voiceless and let it be known that it’s not a crime to be educated at the state’s expense since it’s the state that stands to benefit more from the educated populace.

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