The University of Zimbabwe, which is scheduled to re-open its doors on the 24th of February, has increased tuition fees by more than 10 percent in a move that has been condemned by the Students Solidarity Trust.
“Students in the social sciences departments who used to pay US$450 per semester are now being asked to fork out a staggering US$502 at a time when most parents and guardians are earning salaries that are by far below this amount,” the SST said.
Medical students are the hardest hit as they are now expected to pay more than US$700 per semester after the fees were unilaterally increased by US$90. Students who get compass accommodation will have to pay more for food and accommodation.
“This unjustified and ill advised increment is coming at a time when the government itself has failed to give civil servants a salary increment that is in line with the poverty datum line. The government has even failed to honour a US$79 salary increment awarded to civil servants at the beginning of this year after civil servants threatened to down tools,” the SST said in a statement.
“At this rate education has been completely commodified as only the elites can now access it. Upon investigations the SST discovered that the recent illegal tuition increment has been triggered to benefit lecturers whose marking allowances are set to be increased in a clear case of robbing Peter to pay John.
“This is a direct indication that the lecturers have given up their fight with the government, their employer, for better working conditions and salaries. They are now preying on students who have a proven history of struggling to make ends meet which is tantamount to university students paying incentives to their lecturers like what is now the trend in most schools in Zimbabwe,” the welfare group for students said.
The Students Solidarity Trust urged the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), UZ Students Executive Council (SEC) and all the progressive student activists to unite in resisting “the recent attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right to education.”