NUST students denied exams over unpaid fees

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Several students at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo allegedly failed to write their examinations after the institution denied them entry for lack of payment of fees.

By Ndumiso Tshuma

This setback implied that students may have to repeat the semester if they fail to come to an agreement with the institution.

The exams started on Monday and affected students who were denied access this Tuesday told CITE they were informed last week that they must pay 50 percent of the fees for them to register and write their exams.

However due to the economic situation, some claimed they had not managed to raise the money.

“A majority of students were denied access to the exam halls as they did not register for the semester, after failing to raise the required 50 percent of the fees,” said one of the students.

According to NUST sources, charging half of the money up front is a departure from the former policy, which allowed students to write exams without paying fees and then withheld the results until they paid.

“Fees are about US$600 and the lowest that students can pay is US$350 or half to enable them to register and write their exams. Previously students were able to write their exams without paying their fees then have their results withheld giving them enough time to raise the fees during the semester break,” said a NUST insider who added that the Bursar told lecturers that the institution was not running a charity.

“The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for ‘Research and Academic Affairs’, Professor Yogi Naik also tried to intervene so that the students could write the exams.”

When asked for a response, NUST Director of Communications and Marketing, Thabani Mpofu, stated he was unaware of any students who were turned away from writing exams.

“Only registered students wrote their exams. I am not sure what you’re talking about. I am at campus right now, as far as I am concerned the students are writing exams. I am not aware of that,” Mpofu said.

“What I know is for students to write exams they have to be registered unless you are telling me there is evidence that students who are not writing or the so-called students who are not writing have not paid fees.”

Mpofu denied there were students who failed to sit for their exams, claiming that he did not have such statistics.

“I haven’t heard of these statistics, I haven’t seen them. We don’t use rumours, for official communication check on the website platform, the students portal, that’s where the official information is because rumours go all over…” said the director of communications.

The affected students expressed their expectation that the NUST Student Representative Council (SRC) would reach an agreement with the university for a two to three week extension on fee payment so that they may write their exams.

“We hope the SRC can successfully intervene because this is a double loss on the institution’s side which has to plan for supplementary exams. Whether students write today or tomorrow, the process will be time consuming as NUST will have to print out more papers. The SRC has to negotiate with the school for supplementary exams,” said a student.

Another student added: “this will affect the university’s calendar, while NUST will have to invigilate the students who haven’t written. It is also a waste of material to print out new exam papers for students who haven’t paid.”

The affected students pleaded with NUST to have stuck to the previous method where they write exams without having paid their full fees.

“Sticking to the first method is much easier than letting every student who is part of the university to write their exams and if their fees are not up to date we don’t get our results. This gives us more time to acquire the money after we have written the exams and then pay the remaining balance needed in order for us to get our results,” said the one of the students.

Source: Cite