The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) has blasted the government’s plans to set up two new colleges and a university at a time it was struggling to fund existing institutions.
BY REJOICE CHINGWARU
Zinasu spokesperson, Zivai Mhetu, said focus should be on improving infrastructure at the existing institutions of higher learning.
“Instead of channelling money towards the building of new colleges, the government should concentrate on ensuring that colleges currently in existence are top-notch,” he said.
In his 2017 National Budget statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa slashed the Higher Education ministry’s budgetary allocation by 30%, a move which Mhetu said was likely to negatively affect the quality of education in the country.
“Adding to the plethora of challenges already being faced by students, the budget cut is going to drastically decrease the quality of higher education in Zimbabwe,” Mhetu said.
“Students are reeling from insurmountable pressure as a result of our underperforming economy, which is teetering on the precipice of total collapse.
“Over 12 000 students dropped out of college in the first quarter of 2016 alone and the situation is set to worsen this year, as the budget cut by Chinamasa is exacerbating an already precarious situation for students.”
Mhetu predicted a tough year for most students this year, given the poor state of the economy.
“Many of the woes currently being faced by students are inextricably linked to the deplorable and fast-deteriorating economic crisis, which has reached alarming levels. Students are dropping out because their parents have no money to pay fees as a result of unemployment. It is abundantly clear and irrefutably true that as long as the economy continues to totter, the plight of students will not improve,” he said.
The cash-strapped government has been struggling to adequately fund State universities and colleges and owes millions of dollars in cadetship fees.