Failed State: 10 000 students from Zimbabwe flock to Zambia
By Garikai Mafirakureva | Masvingo Mirror |
An estimated 10,000 young Zimbabweans running away from high unemployment and a broken economy among other factors have turned their backs on local universities and are now studying in Zambia, The Mirror has established.
Lusaka Health Institute alone has an estimated 123 first, second and third-year nursing students, The Mirror was told.
Joseph Mukina an agent who processes applications for Zimbabwean students said that there are at least 200 Zimbabwean students in each of the 58 institutes of higher learning that he deals with. This brings the total number of Zimbabwean students in the country to over 10,000.
A source at Chirundu Border Post said the flood of Zimbabwean students crossing north into Zambia at the start of new semesters cannot be ignored anymore.
An analyst who declined to be named said the migration of students out of the country is a sign of a lack of confidence in the future. He said it proves the economy has collapsed.
Another analyst said Zimbabwe is the most failed State with millions of citizens all over the the region. He said Zimbabwe’s cold war with Zambia is uncalled for.
It seemed unimaginable in the last few years that Zimbabweans could flood Zambia, a far poorer country. Zimbabwean students have over the years turned from one country for education to another as they find no jobs after qualifying.
First, they turned in hordes to South Africa for higher education but as huge regional populations started to affect job opportunities in that country they started going to Poland four years ago and now it is Zambia which is the new source of higher education.
Parents and students who spoke to The Mirror gave various reasons why Zambia has become their first choice for education. They said that Zambian universities are generally cheaper and fees are paid in the local currency which is stable, unlike the Zimbabwean currency.
The fees in Zambia start from as little as $300.
Some students complain that Zimbabwean education is now of poor quality because universities are more focused on making money. One engineering student said that he left a State university here and went to Zambia because one can finish a degree programme without ever setting foot in a workshop. He left the university when he was in year two.
The highest intakes in Zambia are in nursing. The students who spoke to The Mirror said programme restrictions in Zambia are less stringent than in Zimbabwe. Unlike in Zimbabwe, students are not bonded after completing a nursing course.
In Zambia, one can embark on a nursing programme even after several O-level sittings, and students are allowed to resit their O-level English while studying for a degree.
Medicine is another popular programme for Zimbabwean students and this is because Zambians take students from 10 points, said a source.
The Minister of Higher Education, Dr Amon Murwira said he saw nothing wrong with Zimbabweans going to Zambia to further their education.
“People would want to twist the story to suit their narrative, but the truth is that everyone has his own choice. We have a lot of Zimbabweans studying in China and other countries and we also have a lot of Zambians in our institutions of higher learning,” he said.
The Mirror, however, tried to establish whether Zimbabwe has Zambians in its institutions of higher learning but found none. Foreign students from the region who used to come to Zimbabwe because of political instability in their countries are no longer around.
“I am a registered agent. I process scores of applications every day. Programmes in Zambia begin at $300 upwards. Life is cheaper in Zambia, because of the stable currency. Most people take nursing courses,” said Mukina.
He said that some of the popular institutions are Africa University, Cavendish University (Lusaka), Central African Baptist University, Chreso University, Copperstone University, Eden University, Gideon Robert University, Information and Communications University (ICU), Lusaka Apex Medical University, Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA) (Lusaka).
Rusangu University, South Valley University, St. Bonaventure University, Texila American University Zambia, UNICAF University, University of Lusaka, Victoria Falls University of Technology (VFU), Zambia Catholic University and Zambian Open University
Mukina said he processes hundreds of applications every month from Zimbabweans seeking enrolment at Zambian colleges.