UNIVERSITY students have pleaded with Parliament to amend the Ordinances and Universities Act which they say gave too much power to the vice-chancellors (VCs) who then expel students at a whim.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Student representatives from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and Midlands State University (MSU) were appearing before the Peter
Mataruse-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education yesterday, where they also called on Parliament to craft laws to protect the girl child at institutions of higher learning that were exposed to sexual exploitation due to economic hardships.
UZ Student Representative Council (SRC) president Tinotenda Mhungu said VC’s wings need to be clipped because some students were being victimised and chucked out of university for activism they do off campus.
“We managed to meet with the Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and told him that the biggest issue to be dealt with is to amend the Ordinances and Universities Act because it is not sustainable and gives too much powers to one office, resulting in the rights to education being manipulated,” Mhungu said.
“More than 10 students have been expelled using this Act, and for things that they do during vacation and off campus.”
Mhungu said the VC’s office had too much power whereby at UZ a students’ cocktail bar was closed while the one for lecturers remained open.
But, Zaka Central MP Paradzai Chakona (Zanu PF) said the closure of the students’ bar at UZ was a good decision.
“It is right to close the bar because students came to university to learn and not to drink alcohol, and you have a whole life to drink and to even be buried with a bottle of whisky. Lecturers are adults,” Chakona said.
Mhungu said the economic situation was so bad such that some female students were being abused by lecturers for marks and dated by elderly men.
“We find more condoms than sanitary wear at female hostels. We believe universities must provide girls with free sanitary wear because most students are broke,” he said.
MSU student representative Tonderai Mucharonga cried foul over the fees structure at State universities where MSU fees were pegged higher than at other State institutions with students on parallel programmes made to pay more than those on conventional ones.
Mucharonga said the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund also segregated university students where polytechnic students got financial support while university students were not supported.
He called for a 50% reduction in lecturer visit fees for those students on attachment saying it was wrong to charge full fees when lecturers visited them only once during their attachment period.