SA scholarship funds must bankroll local universities

HARARE – Harare West National Assembly MDC candidate Jessie Majome said Zimbabwe is wasting cash sending students to South African universities under the presidential scholarship scheme instead of bankrolling collapsing local facilities.

Majome told a Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) gathering in Harare last Friday that an MDC government will invest heavily in the upgrading and capacitating of local universities rather than funding students to go for scholarships in foreign countries.

“MDC is going to reintroduce students’ loans and grants,” Majome said.

“This is an MDC promise and I can assure you it is going to be kept.

“We are going to stop this nonsense where we have a very poor country with very educated people who can teach in universities spending a lot of money shuttling a few chosen people to South African universities, instead of investing that money in you who are actually here and in our institutions,” Majome said to rapturous applause from students.

Thousands of students have benefited under the presidential scholarship programme that is now facing serious financial challenges as Treasury scales back funding.

The scheme, which is directed by Chris Mushowe, has benefitted thousands of students with an estimated 4 000 currently studying at various South African universities.

At least 100 female students who attended the meeting boycotted by Zanu PF demanded fulfilment of the MDC manifesto in the event it sweeps to power.

“We want you to promise us that whatever you are selling us will happen after we vote you into power,” said a student who only identified herself as Yvonne.

“We are tired of being given empty promises and as politicians you are very good at that,” she said to applause from her colleagues.

Majome said MDC meant “serious business”.

“We do not bluff,” she said. “I am not here to play or joke with you. My party and I are committing ourselves to everything in that manifesto.”

Majome unpacked a variety of gender packages including the formation of a Gender Commission that will ensure equal treatment of all groups within the first 100 days.

Elizabeth Chinyanga, Glen View South candidate for Welshman Ncube’s MDC, said her party was committed to fighting patriarchy-induced discrimination against women.

“We will banish the loitering laws that work against women,” she said.

“Everyone should have a right to move freely in Zimbabwe. Even on dressing, we cannot dress as we want because men will harass us. A Zimbabwean has a right to dress as she wishes as long as she has covered the body.

“We will also make certain that you have maternity services for free because you will be on national duty since through your womb comes soldiers, presidents and so on. There shall also be a law that will make sure pregnant women are not harassed during labour because there are a lot of cases like that.”

Zinasu gender and human rights secretary Coezet Chirinda said the plight of the girl child was yet to be addressed.

“Zimbabweans tend to discuss and judge how female students behave without taking into consideration the reasons as to why they behave that way,” Chirinda said.

“It is not the students’ fault to engage in certain immoralities but the Zimbabwean government is not doing its duty of protecting us students. We would have liked it if Zanu PF had been able to attend but they sent an apology.”

Comments (2)

I like this. I also said the same 3 years ago. It does not make any sense to give scholarships to a few well-connected local students to study at South African universities. Those students are being taught by Zimbabwean lecturers at S,African universities anyway. Spend the money to improve local unversities so that the majority of Zimbabwean students can benefit now and in years to come. Please give university students loans. Is this not a matter of common sense?

Edgar Muzawazi - 29 July 2013

I like this. I also said the same 3 years ago. It does not make any sense to give scholarships to a few well-connected local students to study at South African universities. Those students are being taught by Zimbabwean lecturers at S,African universities anyway. Spend the money to improve local unversities so that the majority of Zimbabwean students can benefit now and in years to come. Please give university students loans. Is this not a matter of common sense?

Edgar Muzawazi - 29 July 2013

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