THE Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) yesterday said the newly-launched Higher and Tertiary Education loan facility was exclusionary as students with parents who have no pay-cheque will not be able to access the loans.
Zinasu secretary-general Makomborero Haruzivishe said the loan facility provided by banks at 10% interest per year would only benefit students whose parents could prove source of income.
“What we the students want are loans that are accessible to all, not these loan sharks whose loans are only accessible to the formally employed. It is an irony given that we have an at least 90% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The loans that have been offered by the ministry neither address the problems of massive student dropouts and deferments due to failure to pay fees nor are they accessible to the majority of suffering students as they are oriented at profit-making,” Haruzivishe added.
He said the ministry should have replicated the University of Zimbabwe’s model on flexible payment across all State-owned institutions of tertiary education.
“Payment plans don’t result in students having to fork out more money. They are working perfectly at the University of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Currently the loan facility secured by the ministry is being disbursed through five financial institutions namely: POSB, GetBucks, CBZ Bank, NMB Bank and Eduloan.
The ministry has warned any person who borrows and uses the loan for something else than paying for education-related expenses would be summarily punished by having to pay the loan back immediately.
“Where the borrowers under the facility abuse the funds, the full loan amount will become immediately due and payable,” the ministry’s advert reads.
The government has over the years been failing to fund tertiary education and allowed institutions to devise new revenue streams to sustain themselves. This resulted in many colleges offering parallel programmes on block release basis to students who had money.