THE discontinuation of the Midlands State University (MSU) media programme has reportedly divided government with stakeholders alleging that the move was political, ill-advised and meant to weaken the course.
BY MOSES MATENGA
There has been an outcry from lecturers, alumni and current students on the matter, who have since petitioned the university and government to reverse the decision by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche).
Zimche through its Zimbabwe Minimum Bodies of Knowledge and Skills (MBKS) board recently cancelled the programme suggesting that MSU should offer a masters’ in journalism and media studies instead.
Sources in government said the matter had divided opinion and came up for deliberation during a recent high-level meeting with officials proffering differing positions.
Zimche has not been forthcoming in providing a clear position on the matter, but in a comment on its Twitter handle that could not be immediately verified, it denied that the programme would being discontinued.
Sources said the matter had become political as some in government argue that the programme was nurturing “vocal” people who were now being a thorn in the flesh for government. However, sources said this assertion was dismissed by other government officials on the basis that many who passed through MSU were also key defenders of government business while others are performing well in the private sector.
Government has not officially come out clean on the matter.
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Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira was not picking calls.
But last week, the permanent secretary in the ministry said there was no need for students and lecturers to panic following the suspension of the degree programmes as the government was working on modalities to address their plight.
Zimche last week started implementing the MBKS that will see some programmes at universities being changed or scrapped.
Former and current MSU students are reportedly plotting a multi-faceted strategy, including taking the matter to court to try and have authorities reverse the move implemented without consultation.
“The programme has been divorced from the one that the corporate world fell in love with and is just an ordinary programme now just like what other universities are offering.
“The problem is companies will not take students for attachment as they used to do because the programme is being phased out.”