HIGHER and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira has defended the hefty fee hike at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) saying local tertiary institutions‘ fees were too low.
The UZ increased fees by 1 000%, with students now expected to fork out an equivalent of US$1 000 per semester, triggering protests at the institution of higher education that resulted in 19 students being arrested early this week.
“If only we could compare Zimbabwe with southern Africa, we have a relatively lower level of fees. I am avoiding saying the word cheap because we are subsidising higher education,” Murwira said at a Press conference yesterday as he welcomed a Russian Federation delegation that is set to tour the country’s tertiary institutions.
“If we were not subsiding, it would be around US$10 000. The issue with the UZ is that they met on August 18 and they agreed on the fees that they are going to charge. Let’s separate politics (from) education. We are not going to entertain that,” Murwira said.
The UZ Students Representative Council (SRC), however, dismissed claims that there was an agreement on the new fees structure. SRC spokesperson Takunda Gift Chinoda urged students to continue piling pressure on university authorities to review the fees downwards.
“As SRC we want to distance ourselves from the claim by the administration that we agreed on the 30% US dollar increment of fees. The administration justified the fee hike whereas SRC disagreed,” Chinoda said.
The UZ SRC has since petitioned Parliament to intervene.
Chinoda said: “We are now waiting for the Parliament as SRC … an urgent High Court application is underway such that we thoroughly contest the fee hike in the courts of law.” Newsday