Hike in university tuition regressive

HARARE - University applications are likely to plummet as growing numbers of students are put off by rising tuition fees.

Elsewhere in this edition, we report the citadel of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), unilaterally hiking tuition by 10 percent.

The knock-on effect will be a drop in the demand for degree courses at the UZ.

Students from poor families, who face paying some of the highest fees, are being hit hardest by the new student finance regime.

This presents further evidence that students will be deterred from university by this hike in the cost of a course.

The latest figures highlight yet again government’s recklessness in raising tuition fees.

It should come as little surprise that applications will be hardest hit as a result of the government making it expensive to gain a public degree education.

Although there might be no direct impact because overall applications are being largely propped up by continuing high demand from foreign students, this move has adverse consequences for local students.

It is high time government start providing generous subsidies for their own students, more so in light of the new Constitution which says the right to education, which is now part of the expanded bill of rights  or Section 75, must be a constitutional provision that students must be in a position to enjoy.

The State is mandated through section 75(b) of the new Constitution to make further education progressively available and accessible through reasonable legislative and other measures.

The hike is an affront to the right to education as it directly militates against education’s four cardinal points, that is affordability, accessibility, adaptability and availability.

Families may consider moving from Zimbabwe to South African universities to avoid the fees rise.

The figures also reveal sharp differences between courses, suggesting that students are being driven away from subjects that are less likely to lead to a highly-paid job, including medicine.

In other words, university is the new secondary school — another level of general education soon to be the bare minimum for employability.

However, and in contrast to President Robert Mugabe’s vision of education for all, post-secondary schooling now comes with a hefty price tag — especially since student loans were suspended amid a biting liquidity crunch.

Unlike secondary school students, university and college students now need to pay the whole  cost of their education out of their own pockets.

With tuition fees skyrocketing, the current cost of an undergraduate degree is a top-line ripple for most students.

Comments (3)

You have a point writer but remember that universities need money to run. If government is currently unable to fund UZ where should the money for elctricity, fuel, water etc come from? If you look at fees for other regional and international universities you will find that those fees are pretty cheap. I say therefore let government subsidise and if the cannot let UZ recover operational costs from students fees lest they shut down.

Marshall - 24 February 2014

To compare our situation with what is preveilling in the region does not make sense. What about the salaries that the people are getting does it match with the region? I don;t think so. Our situation is different from the rest of the region. Our children after graduating from UZ only to stay at home and you have to continue to support them after getting those dummy qualifications. And you have to pay for their labola and give them accommodation till God knows. For example imagine a civil servant whose take home is $150 after many loans from finance houses has two children at UZ how can you manage such an increase. Look the Registrar at UZ is against the Zimbabweans knowing very well that the majority of students' parents are civil servants he will make sure their registration period does not concide with their parents' pay dates so that they will be charged the $2 daily late registration isn't that milking us dry when we are already heavily burdened with the daily survival. Meanwhile the VC can afford to buy a new vichicle every semesster. My two children are on psmas medical aid which l am contributing from my migre salary but UZ forces them to contribute $50 for their own scheme whether this money goes to CIMAS nobody knows. May the darling of the crowd Information minister investigate this vice chancellor he could be plundering UZ resources. So in my view the 10% increament in fees is not justified and should be condermed by all progressive Zimbos.

goodlife - 26 February 2014

Fool...10% increament to what, hw much are fees at local Varsities, majaira zvinu zvemahara! Check private Varsity fees vs state owned/run. You do not need a further SAQA or any other conversion if you go to pvt varstity...wanna know y... check even pvt schools pass rates and calibre of students that come from therein vs gvt owned schools, teachers at pvt schools actually care abt their students, Zimbos are hustlers, they will find a way to pay thru..even without Burseries as in the old days or SA varsities..eva wondered y our ministers/president send their children to china..mid east....

ANony - 26 February 2014

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