ZOU lecturers paid $5 per exam script, cry foul


Part-time lecturers at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) said they had gone for over nine months without receiving their allowances and had also not been paid for services rendered in marking this year’s examinations.


The lecturers accused their employer of “modern-day slavery” and insincerity in addressing their plight.

“It is the responsibility of the university to source funds to pay its staff rates that are sustainable especially considering the harsh economic environment,” one of the lecturers said.

“They simply do not care about our welfare yet they quickly act when it comes to permanent employees.”

“What the authorities are doing is akin to modern-day slavery. We negotiated in good faith and agreed in principle that we will proceed to mark assignments in April/May and examinations in August on the basis that, like all other State universities, they would review our allowances. We fulfilled our end of the bargain, suddenly they are changing goal posts,” the lecturer said.

Others said the bulk of academic work was being done by part-time staffers who were being unfairly treated.

“Imagine we also have responsibilities, we don’t have any medical cover or transport allowances, but still the entire administration would agreed to pay rates of $5 for each assignment marked,” a part-time lecturer from the Faculty of Commerce said.

ZOU acting director of information and public relations Stewart Mandiwanza, however, said: “The issue of paying part-time tutors using last year’s rates is an administrative one.

“The rates are determined-based on fees payable by students to the university when a semester begins as per fees ordinance which is approved by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

“If tuition fees were increased during the course of the semester, it is most likely that the payment rates for part-time tutors for work done were also going to be reviewed upwards.”

He added: “However, tuition fees were not increased during the first semester as 2019 fees prevailed.”

He said the university had approved revised part-time rates effective September 1, 2020 and part-time tutors had requested to be paid using these new rates, a position still under consideration by management.
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