THE recent tuition fees hike by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) scintillates education inequality, elitism and lack of robust and inclusive consultative forums.
The fees hikes make higher and tertiary education a privilege of the minority, the rich and politically-connected.
For a country that has more than half of its population (7,7 million) living in extreme poverty, expecting students to afford the new fees is unjust.
The new fee structure shows a 1 000% increase from the current fees, a jump from $50 000 to $500 000.
The failure by the university authorities to engage the Student Representative Council (SRC) prior the announcement or the final decision shows university authorities disregard of the SRC.
This defies democratic representation and the purpose of the SRC, as it is part of the governance structure of the university calibrated to ensure a synergy between the bottom-up and top-down system.
The fees hike also makes one wonder government’s sincerity with respect to human capital development and innovation, which is pillar seven of the National Development Strategy (NDS) ;[5;.1.
The pillar seeks to reinvigorate and revitalise human capital development in the country for strategic innovation, development and national growth.
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However, the attainability of set and prescribed policy goals have been threatened unless immediate action is taken by government to ensure affordability and inclusivity of education.
This is because the current fee structure facilitates the exclusion of marginalised and vulnerable students who form the majority of the students at universities.
A rapid response survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt Development (Zimcodd) at the UZ shows that the majority of the students are struggling to pay the previous fees set by the institution.
Thus, the new fee structures are a nightmare, a threat to their hopes and future.
The hike in the fees must have been corroborated with an increase in the salaries of civil servants, only then would it have made sense.
As it stands, the fees hike was made without stakeholders’ consultation.
The fees don’t reflect the agony and misery being encountered by Zimbabweans.
For human capital development and national transformation, government needs to bring back the fees subsidies and education grants to ensure inclusivity and accessibility.-ZimcoddNew UZ fee structure facilitates exclusion of marginalised, vulnerable students
I STRONGLY feel that the time is ripe to for us Zimbabweans to restore the country’s breadbasket status and shun dependency completely.
We have to develop the new farming skills to improve our yields and move with the times. Let’s turn our sweet words into action.
Farmers must be seen sweating in the fields.
It is not untrue that we used to export wheat, tobacco to the wider world, especially to other African nations, but today, Zimbabwe is a net importer of foodstuffs from other countries.
I have witnessed this in the previous decades and this must come to an end.
We must produce our food because we have enough land.
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, so we must also speak with one loud voice against the evil sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western regimes.
To be honest, those sanctions have also caused our agricultural sector to collapse. They must be removed unconditionally.
Zimbabwe must be food self sufficient and it’s not too late to return to that era.
We can do it!
Let’s feed our region. Let’s feed our continent, at the same time promoting our local products/brands.-Terrence Mwedzi