THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) General Master of Business Administration (GMBA) post-graduate students have protested over a 500% hike in dissertation supervision fees.
Nust had given notice to GMBA students that those in the Bulawayo cohort would now be charged $44 280 for dissertations, up from $5 500, while those in the Harare cohort would have to fork out $47 560, up from $5 700.
In December, Nust students staged an online demonstration against failure by the university to release transcripts. They also raised several other concerns concerning administrative issues.
In a letter addressed to the institution and signed by all GMBA students, they said Nust had not taken into account the plight of students in increasing fees by 500%.
“The majority of the students are civil servants and it is common cause that their salaries have largely remained stagnant. The percentage increase, 500%, is grossly unreasonable by any standard, and is tantamount to depriving most of the GMBA cohort students the opportunity to complete the course,” part of the letter read.
“We will be reasonable enough to assume that the institution views the group as its ‘cash cow’, but this level of milking defies economic sense and falls short of all the expected standards of reasonableness.”
The students said the institution should adopt an approach that struck a balance between its objective of raising funds from the GMBA cohort group, and the ability of students to pay the same in Zimbabwe’s difficult economic environment.
“We take a unanimous view that the board should consider amending the fees, and reducing them to levels that are not beyond the reach of average students. We feel that not very much has changed from the previous semester so far as the value of the Zimbabwean dollar is concerned. We hope the institution redeems its economic sense and considers the submissions contained,” read the letter.
In response to the letter, Nust director at the school of business, Gwendoline Nani, said the request by the students to revert to the previous fees was not reasonable.
“Your request that Nust reverts to $5 700 and $5 500 for Harare and Bulawayo cohorts, respectively, with immediate effect, is therefore, declined,” Nani said.
“Based on the aforesaid reasons and that dissertation writing does not fall under tuition fees, it means that the fees charged of $47 560 are justified. That payment plan is reasonable and spread over three months with the initial deposit being 50% of the total payable.”
Nani said the university would only meet the students half way by allowing them to pay the dissertation fees in instalments over three months.