Too much government interference in education causing dissatisfaction in students
Students affiliated to the Zimbabwe National Students Union have threatened street protests to express dissatisfaction with government interference and lack of job opportunities.
ZINASU is also concerned about the arbitrary arrests of students and manipulation of students’ elections. Students continue to be arrested for expressing discontent with the bad state of affairs at tertiary learning institutions around the country.
The spokesperson, Avoid Masiraha, said the state of the education sector was in need of urgent action. “As students we will be on the streets soon to protest against policies aimed at worsening our plight. The protests will also address avoidable problems such as inadequate national resources amid plenty,” he said.
The militant students’ spokesperson said they were concerned with the recently introduced ‘manipulatable’ on-line students voting process, aimed at rigging elections in favour of a pro-Zanu (PF) students union – the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Organisation (Zicosu).
The voting system has already been used at some of the country’s universities, while campaigning for the pro-active ZINASU is restricted at campuses. Elections for students’ leadership unions at tertiary institutions are conducted yearly.
Recently, a former secretary general with the Students’ Representative Council, Makomborero Haruziweishe, was suspended from university for questioning the high fees, students’ electoral processes and the $50 student application fees.
On the streets of Harare a student, Cozzette Chirinda, was arrested for questioning the reasoning behind police chasing errant commuter omnibus crews, which endangers the lives of pedestrians in the process.
Chirinda was hit by the rear view mirror of a fleeing kombi and is set to appear in court June 6.
In March this year some 47 students were arrested at the Bindura State University as they discussed coming elections. They were charged under the Public Order and Security Act for convening a meeting without permission from the regulating authority.
ZINASU is also incensed by recent statements allegedly made by the Minister for Primary and Secondary, Lazarus Dokora, that teachers should not be paid salaries for the months schools would be closed for holidays.
Dokora was accused of creating confusion at schools by his “stupid proposals regarding payment of teachers’ salaries”.
Masiraha said Dokora should expend his energy on maximising revenue from the extraction of the country’s mineral resources and other national income generating projects. He also said government should genuinely fight corruption and come up with investor friendly policies.
“Corruption and political patronage should be eliminated while efforts are made to ensure that natural resources benefit all citizens before people talk of Zim Asset,” said Masiraha
He called on government to help create a conducive environment in which people would make a living and contribute towards economic development.
Human Rights lawyer, Dzimbabwe Chimbga, said tertiary education students like everybody else had the right to stage peaceful demonstrations as provided for under Section 59 of the constitution.
Chimbga acknowledged that the students also had the right to demand affordable education. “Demonstrations for jobs would fall under the right to development,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from Zicosu national president, Farai Mteliswa, were fruitless. But he is on record as saying university education is a right and no student should be barred from graduating for failure to pay fees. “Government should utilise the country’s mineral resources to provide for educational grants,” Mteliswa said.Post published in: News