UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura told Parliament yesterday that the institution of higher learning was owed $11,4 million in outstanding cadetship fees by government, saying the arrears date back to 2010.
Nyagura made the remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, chaired by Peter Mataruse, where he defended the university’s decision to introduce a second intake last month.
He said the new undergraduate recruits would increase the number of students at the university to 14 000, a number which he said was far much less than other State universities which have 22 000 students.
Nyagura said UZ had adequate facilities to cater for the additional students.
“We are owed $11,4 million in outstanding cadetship fees from 2010 to 2016, and the current position is that since 2012 government only provides salaries for public institutions and all other costs have to be met by funds we generate internally,” Nyagura said.
“We decided to take students to start academic studies from February and on Friday we registered 1 400 students, which is a small addition to the 12 800 students we had and this pushed the students’ population to 14 000,” he said.
Nyagura said they were working towards improving water supplies, recreational facilities, a library with a seating capacity of 2 500, construction of 10 lecture rooms, reducing computer-student ratio to 1:6 and Internet access to one gigabyte per second and access to a reliable wifi cloud connection all over the campus. “We did all these preparations in anticipation of increasing student population by a small margin and the number of students at the UZ cannot go beyond 15 000.
“In 2011, we put up a policy which requires academic staff to have doctor of philosophy (PhD) qualifications to ensure students get the best education. That policy is enshrined in Ordinance 51, which says if you are not a clinician, lawyer or engineer you need a PhD to lecture. People were given up to 2017 to acquire PhDs and that is what I will review by December,” Nyagura said.
He said the UZ was working on becoming one of the top 10 universities in Africa, adding that was why they were not keen on decentralising to other towns because it might compromise standards.