Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko on Thursday came face to face with the grim situation at tertiary institutions after he was told how femaale students were turning to prostitution to raise fees.
by HAZVINEI MWANAKA
Mphoko was at the Great Zimbabwe University where he delivered a public lecture on National Healing.
During question time, Faith Chishamba Madanhire, a student doing Industrial Relations, said most female students were vulnerable after government withdrew grants and have turned to prostitution to make ends meet.
Most students at tertiary institutions have parents who are civil servants.
Fees for a semester at the Great Zimbabwe University were pegged at $600 and above.
Madanhire said the situation was worsened by the fact that students were neither included nor benefiting from programmes such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Sustainable Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).
“We are failing to pay fees. Some of the students are ending up engaging in prostitution to raise school fees for their education and they end up getting STIs, HIV and Aids,” she said.
“We are vulnerable to rape and abuse. But we want to live and lead a normal life. ZimAsset is benefiting dropouts and by the time we finish, we won’t benefit.”
Mphoko said university fees should be reduced to accommodate less privileged students.
“University fees are our responsibility as government. If they do not reduce fees or accommodate you, it becomes a source of conflict and students will be forced to leave school,” Mphoko said.
He also said there was need for perseverance among students.
“Life is like a wheel, even if you look all around, we will never be the same, you wait for your time. Mine came at 35 years after Independence,” he said.
“The girls who have gone into prostitution is not because of ZimAsset, ZimAsset just came yesterday.”
His response was met with murmurs of disgruntlement from students.