By Staff Reporter
The government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Education, has stopped public schools from increasing tution fees as schools are set to open next week.
This was said by the acting Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Amon Murwira.
The Minister said that no school should increase tution fees as it will be against his directive.
Meanwhile, most state universities have increased tuition fees by more than 1 000 percent without Government approval, while others have postponed block release programmes.
According to the state media, the increases mainly affected visiting or block release students as their fees were not controlled by the Government.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira yesterday (Wednesday) said the increases were illegal as Government had not approved them.
“Every State university is governed by Government and there are no fee increments that were approved for all State universities as we speak.
“We have not yet approved increments at all our tertiary institutions. I heard a rumour that GZU has increased, but we have not yet approved that as we are working on it. Yes, the fees will be adjusted.
Our adjustments will be based on processes we follow and people will be informed,” said Prof Murwira.
He added that $15 000 in fees will be unbearable for most students.
“Even after the review, the fees are not likely to exceed $5 000.
“Government will not approve exorbitant hikes, he said.
Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) director of information Mr Anderson Chipatiso yesterday confirmed the institution had increased tuition fees for block release students from $1 300 to between $9 600 and $15 000, depending on the degree level.
He said the prevailing economic challenges necessitated the adjustment.
“Indeed, fees for block release programmes were increased,” said Mr Chipatiso.
“Refer to www.gzu.ac.zw for more details. The increase is in tandem with the cost of running the programmes.
“The University has of late been subsidising the cost of running the programmes and that has proved unsustainable,” said Chipatiso.
He added that the fees for block release and cohort programmes were not governed by the Government, hence the institution had power to review them at any time.
The fee increase, he said, was meant to facilitate payment of allowances for lecturers and provide for essential services that enable learners to fully conduct their school work.
“Block release and cohort programmes are full fee-paying programmes classified under self-funding programmes for universities, hence they are at liberty to charge fees that can enable them to provide the service without subsidies.
“It is from these fees that the university can pay lecturers’ allowances (hourly wages), hire venues for teaching and learning and provide fuel to power generators as well pay for wi-fi and other services for the block release programmes,” he added.
A GZU student who spoke on condition of anonymity said as a civil servant, he will be forced to defer or drop out because the fees were not affordable.
“Our fees last semester was $1 300 and I was shocked when I opened my portal last week and they are saying I have to pay $9 600 for a block that starts in three days.
“Where can I get that amount of money. They told us that you will not be registered or attend lectures if you have not paid 75 percent of the fees,” he said.