HARARE – At least 12 000 students from the country’s various tertiary institutions have been forced to drop out of school or defer their studies in the face of the deteriorating economic and political climate, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) said.
In a statement Zinasu said skyrocketing tertiary institution fees are beyond the reach of the majority who live under the poverty datum line.
“The majority of students in Zimbabwe are faced with debilitating financial constraints as most have civil servant and informal sector backed economic backgrounds,” Zinasu secretary-general Makomborero Haruzivishe said yesterday.
“Institutions like Zimbabwe School of Mines are charging $2 000 for tuition fees, Solusi University $ 1 500, National University of Science and Technology $800.
“At the University of Zimbabwe this semester alone, 2 800 students have either deferred or dropped out of school altogether due to tuition fee barriers. Great Zimbabwe University has 1 370 students’ deferments or dropouts, including almost 200 final year students …
“In teachers colleges, a total of 8 000 have been affected by the high tuition fees plague. In polytechnic colleges, some programmes …have been stopped as only four students only managed to pay tuition fees to register,” Haruzivishe said.
Despite the steep fees that students are being forced to pay Zinasu said infrastructure at most tertiary institutions is in a state of disrepair and inadequate to accommodate students.
“Buildings and other structures are either inadequate or unsuitable for the students’ needs or incomplete.
“The existing capacity for student’s accommodation in universities and polytechnic colleges can only cater for seven percent of the total enrolment…”, said Haruzivishe.
Noting the country’s power and water woes, Zinasu said a lack of proper sanitation has also impacted negatively on the operations of virtually all tertiary institutions.