PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to meet vice chancellors, college principals, bursars, investors, bankers and student leaders today, during an indaba aimed at addressing infrastructure challenges at tertiary institutions as well as problems in accessing student loans.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira yesterday said the meeting will be held at the Harare International Conference Centre.
He said the meeting is aimed at addressing infrastructure challenges faced by institutions of higher learning as well as challenges in accessing student loans. “The meeting is set to make the infrastructure at universities, technical colleges and teachers colleges take off. We are meeting with local and international investors and banks to also discuss the line of student loans. It’s a meeting to secure investment into our institutions’ infrastructure development,” he said.
“Students are at the centre of the ministry hence we are doing this for them to have an environment conducive for learning and ensure that financial shortcomings do not become an obstacle to their education.”
Prof Murwira said the President will officially open the meeting. “We are honoured to have His Excellency officially open the conference and be with us throughout the meeting as we try to resolve problems that our students are facing,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the meeting was going to give investors an opportunity to make presentations and express their financial commitments to the country’s higher education sector.
Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (Zicosu) president, Mr Tafadzwa Gambiza commended Government for its efforts to improve the welfare of students.
“We appreciate Government’s efforts of creating a better learning environment for students. The meeting is a great move to alleviate accommodation and learning space challenges at institutions. We hope that the conference will be a great success and students’ financial burden can be lessened,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government has reduced tuition fees for students on attachment by 40 percent, a move that will come as a relief to many who were struggling to pay fees.
Prof Murwira said the industrial attachment tuition fees had been reduced with immediate effect.
“We have been studying the situation since December last year and we have now come to a conclusion to reduce fees for students on attachment to 60 percent of the total tuition with immediate effect,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the tuition fee was cut for all students at tertiary institutions including teachers’ colleges. This comes after student leaders made an appeal to the Government to review fees for students on attachment.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr Desire Mutize Sibanda said the reduction in fees will meet the students’ needs and reduce the burden on them.
“The decision has been taken after careful consideration of the economic environment and the economic status of the majority of the students. Students on attachment meet the cost of accommodation, food and transport to and from work. The Ministry has considered the variable and fixed costs attendant to students’ supervision and utilisation of teaching and teaming facilities,” he said.