Govt closes 106 colleges


The government has with immediate effect ordered the closure of 106 private tertiary colleges nationwide for operating illegally.
The colleges, according to the Ministry of Higher Education, did not possess the requisite licences.
In Bulawayo at least 19 of the colleges had their operations stopped while 27 had their licences cancelled.
In Manicaland province 21 colleges were stopped from operating while 10 had their licences cancelled. Twenty-six colleges had their operations stopped in the Midlands province with three having their licences revoked.
The move has left scores of students, mostly foreigners, stranded.
In a schedule of inspected private and independent training institutions, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Washington Mbizo, said the institutions were operating illegally as of last Saturday.
“The institutions were found operating illegally and ordered to stop training in accordance with the Manpower Planning and Development Act Chapter 28:02 subsection 1 and
Statutory Instruments 333 of 1996 and 26 of 2001’’ said Mbizo.
Mbizo said legal action would be taken against institutions found operating after the directive.
Efforts to get comments from affected institutions where unsuccessful as the premises where closed and telephones went unanswered.
The closed institutions include famous ones like ZDECO, Denmak Training Services, Bulawayo Hospitality College, New Vision, NRZ Training Centre in Bulawayo, Herentals, ZAOGA Dressmaking College, Christian Family Bible Institute in Manicaland province and Apex Training Centre, Institute of Education, Rodwel Foundation and City Centre Study.
Students who spoke to Newsday in Bulawayo yesterday said they were caught unaware by the directive.
Most students were in the middle of writing their mid-year examinations.
A Namibian national Tuhafeni Kaulinge said he felt betrayed by the college authorities.
“I feel cheated by the college, they knew that their documentation was not in order but they continued operating,” he said.
“When I turned up for school in the morning, they only told us that teachers were on strike but some students later saw a public notice that the college’s operating licence had been suspended.”
Another student added, “We found the college door locked and the authorities were not prepared to shed light on the situation. We then saw a notice that the college licence was cancelled.”
Private colleges have sprouted in cities and towns cashing in on the influx of foreigners seeking education in Zimbabwe’s reputed education system. The colleges have also become alternative to government-owned institutions which are either poorly equipped or do not have lecturers. Most of the colleges are housed in dilapidated buildings commonly used by small to medium scale enterprises, with no proper ablution facilities.
They offer mostly commercial and academic studies.
According to the ministry’s notice, some of the colleges were operating from residential places and shopping centres.
Students at Denmak Training Services, located in Bulawayo were seen milling around the college building but had dispersed by mid-day.
Over the years, educationists have raised concern over the mushrooming of private colleges accusing them of depending on untrained teachers and in some cases school-leavers to conduct lessons.
The majority of the staffers at these colleges are Ordinary and Advanced level graduates.
This has led to the colleges producing half-baked products, it has been alleged.
Years of economic stress have resulted in government channeling little resources towards the construction of new schools.