Varsity fees hike message false: Govt

Prof Amon Murwira

GOVERNMENT has dismissed social media messages that universities have raised fees by more than 500 percent.

One of the discredited messages reads: “University of Zimbabwe fees increased to $15 000 per semester. Medicine Faculty to pay $45 000 per semester. Law full time $12 000 and part time $21 500 per semes­ter. The Ministry of Higher education has granted all State Universities and other ter­tiary institutions authority to raise the fees which had not been raised in tandem with inflation.”

A table of fees purportedly for Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) shows fig­ures ranging between $4 245 and $15 000 while international students are supposed to pay US$3 000.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Min­ister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Sci­ence and Technology Development Pro­fessor Amon Murwira said the messages circulating on social media were meant to cause despondency because Government had not approved any fees increases.

“It is shocking, I saw the messages on twit­ter and I was so disappointed with social media,” he said.

“These messages are causing despond­ency in the country. Who can afford to pay $45 000 for fees in this country. I mean what will be your salary?

“We have not even adjusted anything on the ground. Even if we increase the fees it will not be that much, it is just a pack of lies. No committee has sat to discuss fees structures for next year.”

Prof Murwira said the Government indi­cated fees will be adjusted at the end of the austerity period, but nothing had been said as of now.

In July, Government warned universities against raising fees without approval, amid reports that some varsities countrywide had attempted to unilaterally hike fees.

Universities increased fees for parallel and block students, leaving out conven­tional ones whose public outcry usually draws attention.

Prof Murwira, at the time, said fees for all undergraduate categories remained unchanged.

“All fees to do with undergraduate studies have not been increased as such commu­nication passes through my office,” he said then. “I have not signed an ordinance to that effect.

“Fees remain the same until we put alter­native payment methods as we are working on introducing grants.

“As for the undergraduates, there is no compromise except for post-grad­uate, there is that leverage since it is optional.”