PROHIBITIVE foreign currency-denominated university fees are increasingly weighing down on poor students who are now failing to continue with their studies.
One such student is a part-two Lupane State University (LSU) student, who has taken to social media to salvage his academic career after the institution decided to charge fees in foreign currency.
Fees at LSU range from US$341 to US$400 per semester for undergraduate studies, and the amount can go up to ZWL$2 million in local currency.
Bongani Tshuma (21), born in Nkayi’s Khafa village, Matabeleland North province, who is studying towards a degree in applied biotechnology industry, has shared his fees challenge story on social media platforms.
Tshuma, who was assisted by former Cabinet minister Sithembiso Nyoni to meet his secondary education fees, used former radio personality Ezra Tshisa Sibanda’s Facebook account to air his appeal last week.
“Unfortunately, I am dropping out because of fees challenges since they pegged their fees up to US$800. I am from a poor family,” Tshuma said.
“I was raised by my maternal grandmother, after my mother left me after birth. I don’t know my father or even any paternal relative. My educational journey was not easy because I was dropping out and continuing due to failure by my grandmother in paying fees.”
Tshuma has two siblings who also dropped out of school after failing to raise fees.
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Nyoni was not readily available for comment on Tshuma’s plight.
In a fees notice published on September 5, 2023, student representative Donald Ndlovu said students were required to pay 40% of their fees to attend lectures.
This excludes accommodation.
Higher and Tertiary Education secretary Fanuel Tagwira recently revealed that government had given universities the greenlight to charge US dollar fees because students were paying fees after the local currency had depreciated.