Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has today justified the recent increase in fees at the country’s universities saying they are actually at par or below those obtaining at universities in the Southern African Development Community region, except for those in Namibia and Malawi.
Writing in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail, Mnangagwa said there had been a misaligned fees structure in Zimbabwe’s whole education sector.
“For a very long time, fees for university education have been low; in some cases, lower than fees charged by many secondary schools in the country.
“It certainly does not make sense that our higher education, which is at the apex of the entire education system, and which is internationally benchmarked, meaning it requires specialised facilities and tuition, turns out to be cheaper than foundational primary and secondary education.”
Mnangagwa said the fees were agreed after comparisons with other institutions in the region.
“After receiving and examining the schedule, it has become quite apparent that the old fees we charged were untenable, while the new fees our universities now propose are not just reasonable, but still either below or within the range of what their peers in the region are charging. With the exception of universities of Namibia and Malawi, fees now being levied by most of our universities are at par or below those obtaining at other universities in our SADC region,” he said.
Mnangagwa said there were several ways the State could help students who could not afford the fees including government loans whose uptake was quite low.
The President, however, warned political minded elements from disrupting studies.
“What would be reprehensible is for some politically minded elements within the student community to use this needful fees review to disrupt studies and the smooth running of these key institutions. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure studies continue without undue interference and disruptions. That should be everyone’s goal. I look forward to capping more graduands this year, marking yet another successful academic year and the beginning of numerous careers for the development of our country,” he said..
Across all our State universities, the governing University Councils recently saw it fit to upwardly review fees for university education in the country.
Several factors made this decision necessary, not least currency fluctuations we have experienced in the country, and which we are steadily stabilising.
There was also the fact of the misaligned fees structure in our whole education sector. For a very long time, fees for university education have been low; in some cases, lower than fees charged by many secondary schools in the country.
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