The Plight of a Zimbabwean student in 2015

via The Plight of a Zimbabwean student in 2015, Country Reports, Publications, KONRAD-ADENAUER-STIFTUNG (FOUNDATION) ZIMBABWE, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 19 February 2015 by Darlington Madzonga

The Zimbabwean learner faces a lot of challenges due to the deteriorating economic conditions grappling the country. Chief among them is the issue of tuition fees. Zimbabwean colleges and universities charge very high tuition fees as compared to other universities in the region. Unemployment has skyrocketed with the government of the day failing to create jobs for parents and guardians to raise the needed tuition fees. University of Zimbabwe is demanding full payment before one start to attend lessons.

In other universities those who are allowed to sit for their examinations will not get their results without settling fees arrears. The government’s cadetship program has failed to support those students who needed assistance. The government has already decided to dump the cadetship program and reintroduce the grants and loans program. Accommodation problems have rocked many institutions of higher learning particularly at the Midlands State University (MSU). When the former Gweru Teachers’ College opened its doors as a university to the first batch of students in 2001, accommodation was not a problem as enrolment was low then.

But as years progressed and MSU adopted a massive student recruitment drive, accommodation became a headache for the institution’s authorities. This explains why students are being charged exorbitant amounts in residential areas such as Senga, Nehosho Daylesford, Windsor Park, Kopje, Ivene and other surrounding suburbs. Accommodation challenges are also rampant at Great Zimbabwe University were students are forced to look for alternative accommodation in Rujeko and other suburbs. Students at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) also face accommodation problems during their period of learning. The lack of accommodation in many campuses means students has to make up with transport costs to and from campus. In Harare most students stay in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza because of cheap lodgings. This means that students have to get in town then to campus twice every day. On a monthly basis a student who stays out of campus would need USD 80 for transport alone. So apart from raising tuition fees parents and guardians are also expected to fork out money for transport and food.

Transport operators charge high fares during the morning and the evening. This is the time most students commute to and from colleges. Students at Great Zimbabwe University have to be transported every day from Masvingo town to Mashava campus. At the Bindura University of Science education (BUSE) students need to be transported from their halls of residence to the main campus. The shuttle buses need fuel and in the event that authorities fails to acquire fuel, students will not attend lectures. Students require stationary such as pens, files, books and internet services which are provided at a cost by universities. Internet allows students to carry out further researches apart from attending lectures. This will enable them to do their assignments. Great Zimbabwe University campus located at Mashava campus faces power challenges which affect internet connectivity at the campus. Students have to travel to Masvingo to seek internet services. The curriculum used in institution of learning has become old and irrelevant. Most of the curricular was designed as far back in the 1980s and no attempt to revamp it has been made.

The economy has also caused many lectures to leave the country in search of greener pastures. This means that the ratio of student to lecturer is now very high. Most lecturers are leaving institutions of higher learning into the private sector. This is so because most institutions which are state funded are suffering the same economic conditions as the government of the day. Most Universities lacks enough capital and infrastructure to carry out its work. This includes training of lecturers through staff development and research. Research is a very important component in the teaching of students. Most facilities have become absolute and cannot match the growing technological changes. Libraries are not fully equipped while; laboratories lack the needed equipment to enable learning.

The failure by these institutions to rehabilitate buildings, libraries and laboratories students will not have access to them while conducting their studies. Government grants which used to support these institutions are no longer available hence students are the target for fundraising. The case of industrial attachment affects almost all students in tertiary institutions. With industries and companies collapsing most students end up having their attachments in areas which does not meet the requirements of training. The collapse of institutions such as Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF), formed by the government means students are no longer getting financial support during their attachment periods. ZIMDEF was formed by the government in 1996 with a broad objective of financing the development of critical and highly skilled manpower in Zimbabwe.

Lastly after spending three or four years facing the above challenges at the University, the prospects of getting employment in the job market are remains very slim. Our economy is struggling and the capacity of industries to absorb university graduates is very low. Thousands and thousands of graduates who graduate yearly are roaming in the streets due to the fact that there is no job market to absorb them.

Darlington Madzonga is a Social Safety Net with the Students Solidarity Trust (SST).

The opinions and views expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung does not necessarily subscribe to the opinions and views

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    Tyson Gundamu 7 years ago

    This article is poorly written. It has several grammatical errors. Was it written by a first year student? e.g.

    1. University of Zimbabwe is demanding full payment before one start to attend lessons.
    2. Accommodation challenges are also rampant at Great Zimbabwe University were students
    3. The lack of accommodation in many campuses means students has to make up with transport costs to and from campus.
    4. The failure by these institutions to rehabilitate buildings, libraries and laboratories students will not have access to them while conducting their studies.
    5. Darlington Madzonga is a Social Safety Net with the Students Solidarity Trust (SST).

    Further writer fails to back up his story with facts and figures such that one wonders if most UZ students stay in Chitown, whether local university lecturers are lowly compared compared to regional counterparts or industry, whether fees are that high compared to those of other institutions regionally etc

    A good attempt though

  • comment-avatar
    Petal 7 years ago

    and the Geriatric sends his son to the Phillipines to be educated while the ordinary people cannot have a proper education

  • comment-avatar
    arnold benjamin 7 years ago

    the article was not poorly written as suggested by mr tyson.having grammatical errors does not mean the article lost its taste….the article sounds good and its good indeed.