Harare legislator Shakespear Hamauswa yesterday asked why it was prudent for the government to compare fees at local universities to those in the region but refused to compare salaries with those prevailing in the region.
The Warren Park Member of Parliament was speaking during question time after Magwegwe legislator Anele Ndebele asked how the government was going to make sure that the poor were not excluded from higher learning institutions because of the hike in fees by 450%.
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is leader of government business, responding on behalf of Higher Education Minister Amon Murwira,said the fees were reviewed to match the current situation but were still the lowest in the region.
Ziyambi said State universities had come up with programmes to ensure that students were cushioned in terms of having payment plans, access to loans and other support services.
Q & A:
HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Exorbitant prices and fees are indicators of challenges faced by our citizens. Basic rights are now inaccessible for many. State university fees have gone up 450% with the Ministry’s approval, which is really insensitive. I want to check with the Leader of Government Business if there is a deliberate policy thrust by our Government to cushion the majority poor who cannot afford to finance higher education because it must not be a preserve for the rich.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. State university fees have not been increased for over one and half years. Hon. Members are quite alive that a lot has happened within that particular period. If you compare when the fees were pegged at the current structure that has been reviewed and the cost of living that was there including salaries, you will realise that there was a need for a review to be done. When you compare the fees with what is obtaining in the region, we are the cheapest. Be that as it may, our State universities have come up with programmes to ensure that our students are cushioned in terms of having payment plans, access to loans and other support services that can be given. Indeed, there was a huge jump but that was done upon a realisation that we kept the fees frozen for over one and half, if not two years and everything else has been going up but the fees structures are not that exorbitant if you compare with the region. I thank you.
Continued next page