The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has thrown a life line to the Zimbabwe Distance Education college (Zedco), owned by Zanu PF Secretary for Education in the politburo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, by removing his college from institutions closed for operating illegally.
The former information minister said yesterday he was unaware of the registration rules for colleges and had asked for temporary reprieve to regularise his operations.
“I did not know that I had to register the other two colleges with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education,” Ndlovu said.
“I admit I was wrong and I am grateful they (officials) have given me an opportunity to properly register the colleges.”
The move by the ministry to accord Ndlovu preferential treatment has been described by other black listed colleges as “political”.
According to a new list published by the ministry at the weekend, Zedco is the only college that has been removed from the list of 106 colleges initially closed for operating illegally.
The institutions were ordered to close shop in accordance with the Manpower Planning and Development Act Chapter 28:02 subsection 1 and stationary instruments 333 of 1996 and 26 of 2001.
“We do not believe that Zedco is the only college that has met the required government conditions. It can only be because it is owned by a Zanu PF official,” said one college official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said in their engagement with the ministry, colleges had discovered that the ministry did not have a secretariat to deal with the issues being raised.
“While we have filed our papers with the ministry, nothing has been done to rectify the problems,” said the official.
Permanent secretary in the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Washington Mbizvo, could not immediately comment on the issue yesterday as he was said to be in meetings.
In a notice, Mbizvo warned that action would be taken against colleges that continued to operate without licences.
Private colleges have mushroomed in cities and towns with some operating from residential and shopping centres.
Education Sports and Culture David Coltart said government would soon put in place measures to monitor the colleges, most of which were not registered and did not meet minimal requirements of the ministry.
Protracted industrial action at formal schools by teachers has seen parents losing faith in the conventional schools and are instead sending their children to private colleges.
Coltart said there was an urgent need to monitor private colleges to ensure they met minimum education standards.
Zedco survives clampdown