By Desmond Nleya
More than 25 000 students have applied for loans following the re-introduction of student loans by Government, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, has said.
Government has said it has mobilised $105 million to be accessed by students in tertiary institutions.
Minister Murwira who was responding to a question on the affordability of university tuition fees during a Parliamentary question and answer session recently, said those who could not afford the fees should apply for loans.
“We have taken everything into consideration because we have two loan schemes; the other loan scheme which requires pay slips has more than 25 000 students registered. This other intervention is the first one in 2020 and I want to applaud this Honourable House for having allowed us to start a loan scheme which is Government backed,” said Prof Murwira.
The Minister said the loans were meant to cushion students and at the same time provide quality education.
“So, what we have done is to introduce a Government backed loan scheme to improve access. We also have a private loan scheme which is offered by other banks. So we started this year to make sure that the fees are actually affordable and make sure that everybody has access to quality education,” he said.
Prof Murwira said universities were going to be given operational grant by Government so that they do not depend on fees for their operations.
“For the first time, this Parliament voted for ZW$6 million for operations for each university and ZW$10 million for new universities. This is in recognition that universities need to be supported,” said Prof Murwira.
Government directed universities not to charge more than $5 000 in tuition fees per semester while polytechnics and teachers’ colleges have to charge fees below $1 300 for certificate and diploma programmes. The Chronicle