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‘Tertiary education fees must fall’

Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy Student Command, (YARDSC) Secretary General, Howad Madya said that extortionate tertiary education fees must fall as the exuberant fees deprive students of their constitutional right to education.

Statistics released by Zimbabwe National Students Union, revealed that  12 000 students from the country’s various tertiary institutions have been forced to drop out of school or defer their studies in the face of the deteriorating economic and political climate.

Tertiary institution fees in the country range between $300- $1500 per school term and university semester depending on the type of institution.

In an interview with 263chat Madya said that education is not a commodity that can be used to mil money from students.

“Students cannot afford to pay an amount which so high, especially in a country which is characterised by a harsh economic environment and cash shortages,” said Madya.

He said, “As Yard student board we are worried by the exorbitant fees because education is a right according to the Zimbabwean constitution, same as the right to life.

“Many students are dropping out of school because of the high fees and government is no longer concerned about us as it has turned to be an elite government,” said Madya.

Madya urged government to act according to the constitution so that students enjoy their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

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“As YARDSC we are appealing to the government of Zimbabwe to act according to the constitution which was voted by the people, because going to school is not a luxurious thing but it is something that people needs,” he added.

Students from different tertiary institutions in the country said that they are angered by the amount of fees being charged at tertiary institutions.

Cornelius Bwanya, a Media and Cultural student at Great Zimbabwe University bemoaned the amount being charged by his institution.

“Fees are very high, no one can afford to pay such an amount and it is the government’s responsibility to administer and ensure that fees is slashed.

“The government must either assist in paying the fees or order the all tertiary institutes to lower their fees,”  said Bwanya.

Another Great Zimbabwe University student who identified herself as Tatenda Chizu said as a result of the high  amount paid as fees he has been forced to defer most of his semesters.

“Most of students are dropping out of school every year because parents are struggling and some have been subjected to the infamous July 17 High Court ruling which forced many parents into vending.”

Another student, who is studying at Midlands State University, said it is unethical to raise tertiary fees  without consulting the students. He added that government must subsidise fees, not only at tertiary level but from primary level as well.

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“There are things that government should understand, majority of our parents are vendors and the economy is melting down and we are in the middle of a cash crisis, so fees must fall,” he said.

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Journalist based in Harare

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