HomeLocal NewsStudents tear into Chinamasa 2015 budget presentation

Students tear into Chinamasa 2015 budget presentation

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LOCAL students have torn into Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s 2015 National Budget and accused the minister of offering mere commitments on paper yet nothing concrete was being done to improve the country’s education sector.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) spokesperson Avoid Masiraha said students faced serious accommodation challenges and experienced poor living standards in colleges and yet Chinamasa decided to allocate more money towards the Presidential Scholarship Fund than to local universities.

“The fact that money allocated towards the Presidential scholarship fund is more than what was allocated to the whole education sector is a clear sign that government is not serious about promoting the education sector,” Masiraha said.

“The paltry $1 million allocated towards grants and loans is a drop in the ocean as we have 300 000 students in Zimbabwe who need grants and loans.”

While presenting the budget statement, Chinamasa acknowledged that the majority of students were failing to secure decent accommodation.

He said $20 million would be mobilised through issuance of infrastructure bonds in order to expedite the construction of halls of residence at State universities.

“I propose to allocate $5 million towards the Presidential Scholarship. For the future, the Presidential Scholarship Programme will cater for education to fill the national skills gap. In this regard, a study will be done to ascertain the skills gap in terms of the priority requirements of the economy. Hence, the Presidential Scholarship Programme will be supporting programmes that are geared to address the identified skills gaps,” Chinamasa said.

In a statement issued last week, Zinasu said they were not happy about the manner the education sector was being treated because in 2014, government made some financial commitments towards higher education, but failed to fulfill the pledge.

“The 2014 budget had some financial commitments towards higher education, but they were insignificant and were not met, resulting in further deterioration of educational services, alarming fees hikes, and turning of our academic institutions into historical institutes where appreciation of current science,
technology, practical disciplines like agriculture, mining, engineering, information technology and up to date e-learning standards is highly dormant,” the Zinasu statement read.

“We were expecting the 2015 budget to help revive and kick-start the development of Zimbabwe’s education sector for sustainable contribution to the nation’s socio-economic revival.”

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