Students Cry Foul at Midlands State University

……..As college authorities increase tuition fees
Midlands State University (MSU) opened its 2010 academic year last week on Monday, 1 February 2010 with students decrying the new fees structure. The college authorities have increased the tuition fees from the original range of USD300-USD800 to a steep range of USD450- USD950 depending on the programme and faculty.
The returning students who are still struggling to settle arrears from last semester received the shock of their lives when the college authorities announced the new fees structure. The ZINASU Information and Publicity Secretary, Wisdom Mgagara and the Education and Research Secretary, Artwell Chidya visited the college on their National Executive Council tour to institutions to take audit of the current state of education in the country. The NEC members were met with first year students who were stranded after being told to pay a lumpsum of USD700 up front before registration.
The ZINASU delegation tried in vain to meet the college authorities specifically the Vice Chancellor to discuss on the issue of fees but the authorities were said to “be busy” in meetings the whole day. It is uncalled for, for the authorities to just raise tuition fees, when the country has a multi -currency economy which is not prone to inflation. The students cannot afford the ridiculous fees being charged at the college. ZINASU has urged the students to resist paying the steep fees and a full delegation of the entire NEC members will be at MSU on Thursday, 11 February 2010 to try and redress the issue by all means necessary so as to ensure that the right to education is respected.

The ZINASU International Relations Secretary, Faith Chamba and two other students namely, Peter Garanewako and Trust Munyama from Harare Polytechnic College met with the Acting Principal, Mr. Chivhuro and the Vice-Principal, Mr. Mudondo today, 9 January 2010. The rationale of the meeting was to discuss burning issues affecting the students. The issues raised included the exorbitant tuition fees charged by the college ranging from USD175-USD350, the absence of lecturers in most departments and the poor diet being served in the dining halls. Students also complained that they are failing to access last term’s results as the college authorities are demanding full payment of last term’s tuition fees, amounts which students cannot raise.
The college opened on the 12th of January 2010 with the college authorities announcing that all students were required to settle all outstanding fees before being permitted to register for the new term. Students who applied for the cadetship programme are being forced to pay tuition fees for last term as the college is yet to receive funds for the scheme from the Government. It is unreasonable for college authorities to demand cash from beneficiaries of the cadetship scheme as by virtue of applying for the programme shows that the students cannot afford under any circumstance to raise the stipulated fees. Failure to register for the semester would result in the student being denied access to lectures and not being recognized as a bona fide student at the college.
The Acting Principal, Mr. Chivhuro remained adamant to the issues highlighted above stating that students would only be allowed to register after full payment of tuition fees citing that the college requires the money to be able to operate smoothly. He also stated that there would be no negotiations on the terms of payment as some students owed the college tuition fees dating back to 2008. Cde Chamba enlightened the Principal that it is the duty of the Government to educate its citizenry rather than the other way forward hence he should be reasonable when dealing with students. This did not go down well with the Principal who abruptly stopped the meeting and escorted the delegation outside campus with the assistance of overzealous college security guards.
ZINASU is shocked by the arrogant response from the college authorities but this will not deter the students’ body from fighting for the rights of students. Students from Harare Polytechnic College have vowed not to be deterred by the reaction and threats from the administration and swear to engage in demonstrations until the situation improves at the institution.

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