THE Higher and Tertiary Education ministry has ordered all State universities and colleges not to block students, who would not have paid tuition fees, from writing examinations, but urged the learners to come up with payment plans in future to avoid being turned away.
In a statement at the weekend, Higher and Tertiary Education permanent secretary, Machivenyika Mapuranga directed all State universities and colleges to allow students to write examinations unhindered, but withhold their results if fees remained unpaid.
“The ministry is directing all institutions to allow students to write their examinations, but withhold results until all outstanding fees are paid,” he said in the statement.
This came amid reports that several State universities and colleges had sent away students over non-payment of fees. In spite of the reprieve to the defaulting students, Mapuranga reminded them that they ought to pay fees on time or come up with payment plans, lest they be kicked out of examination rooms.
THE Reserve Bank has begun engaging financial institutions willing to partner the apex bank for the financing of the tuition loan scheme for higher and tertiary education students.
The central bank in the January 2017 Monetary Policy Statement announced that students in higher and tertiary education institutions will as from August start getting educational loans to assist parents and guardians who are struggling to pay fees.
In a statement yesterday, the RBZ called for proposals for the implementation and administration of the educational loan facility for higher and tertiary education programmes.
“In order to facilitate the envisaged student assistance, the Bank invites proposals from financial institutions registered in terms of the Banking Act (Chapter 24:20) and the Microfinance Act (Chapter 24:29) for the re-establishment of the Educational Support Facility and administration of loans or facilities or any financial accommodation extended in terms of the said facility,” reads the statement.
SIXTY TWO percent of parents in Bulawayo have not paid their children’s school fees and levies for the First Term at Government schools amid concern that non-payment of fees is hindering the implementation of the new education curriculum.
In an interview, the acting Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Mrs Olicah Kaira said their records show that only 38 percent of parents paid school fees for last term for primary and secondary schools.
She said non-payment of fees was hindering the province in implementing the new curriculum which requires a lot of funding.
“We are implementing a new curriculum and we need a lot of financial resources, we need qualified teachers and teacher capacity development is part of the pillars of the new curriculum and without money we cannot even build new infrastructure. Infrastructural development is a pillar that contributes towards successful implementation of the curriculum,” she said.
STATE universities and other institutions of higher learning will soon slash fees for students on industrial attachment, the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Dr Godfrey Gandawa has said.
The Deputy Minister said the Ministry was in the process of coming up with the right amount to be paid by students on attachment.
Dr Gandawa was responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday on Government’s policy regarding the payment of tuition fees by students on attachment.
Students at state universities and polytechnics pay full fees while others are paying more when they are on industrial attachment. Dr Gandawa said the fees must go down.
The Government has once again warned school authorities against sending pupils home for non-payment of school fees as schools open.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said Government policy was against punishing innocent pupils as the contract to pay fees was between the school and the parent or guardian.
She said parents at the school have good relations with the head and when they agree on payment plan, they always strive to meet their part of the bargain.
Dr Utete-Masango said she was told that those who meet challenges and fail to pay within the agreed period always inform authorities in order to come up with new payment plans.
She urged other school authorities to come up with ways of encouraging parents to pay fees and levies as opposed to sending pupils home.
Dr Utete-Masango however said parents or guardians with pupils at boarding schools should appreciate that schools need money to buy food and meet other expenses hence they should pay the fees on or before schools open.
Government has started recruiting 2 300 teachers ahead of schools opening for second term next week, to enable full implementation of the new curriculum introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the Public Service Commission (PSC) had started the process of recruiting the teachers and was working on modalities and administrative issues.
Minister Mupfumira said they were looking forward to completing the recruitment process before schools opened, as Government moved to address the shortage of teachers.
A NEW era is beckoning for the country’s tertiary education system as university authorities are planning to shift from mass production of graduates to quality that will help to drive industry and national development.
Vice chancellors from the country’s universities say it is time PhD students shift from the “recommendations based theses to a solution and innovative theses” for the development of the country.
Leading the debate in a review meeting of the delegation’s tour to some of the world’s thriving science and technology universities, University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said it’s high time screws were tightened in the country’s higher education system in order to adapt to the country’s industrial needs.
“The issue we have here is about what kind of a PhD are we producing. We are not looking for mass production. We are looking for quality production. I think we need to run away from mass production to quality production so that these people that we produce come up with tangible, visible measurable things and run away from recommendations which are practically useless,” said Prof Nyagura.
He said theses by PhD students must not provide solutions and recommendations which had become monotonous and irrelevant to today’s society.
A ZIMBABWEAN student, Musawenkosi Saurombe (23), made history last week when she became the youngest female PhD holder in Africa.
Dr Saurombe received a PhD in industrial psychology at North-West University`s campus in Mahikeng, South Africa on April 25.
Her thesis was titled: The management perspectives on a talent value proposition for academic staff in a South African Higher Education Institution.
Dr Saurombe started school at the age of four in Gaborone‚ Botswana. When she was in Grade Three, her teacher promoted her to grade four after the first school term.
“My parents had to explain to my teachers after wanting to promote me to other grades that I needed time to mature and it was true because when I got to university I struggled‚” she was quoted as saying recently.
Dr Saurombe enrolled for a BCom degree at the age of 16.
At 19, she had received an Honours degree before getting a Master’s with distinction at 21.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora continues to divide opinion. Considered a reformer on one side of the aisle, he is also seen – in almost equal measure – as an inept public official with a flair for controversy and the unconventional by his critics.
His recent explanation that hard-pressed parents can use livestock or labour in lieu of school fees has sent tongues wagging. A qualified communications expert, Dr Dokora has been caricatured as “Dr Dofora” by some, and hailed as a burst of positive energy by others.
On the issue of livestock and school fees, he told The Sunday Mail: “We are creating markets for our people so that they can sell whatever they have without prejudice. “The items they can sell range from tomatoes, chicken, goats and other livestock.
“We are actually talking to my Rural Development counterpart, Minister Abednigo Ncube, to ensure rural district councils play a leading role to attract buyers.
“These are the public-private partnerships that we are talking about. All those women who go to Harare or Bindura are looking for markets to sell their produce in order to raise their children’s tuition fees. “So, we are giving them the markets wherever they are.
“Most of the people who are criticising this noble initiative do not even have a chicken!” Innovations such as new learning areas, foreign languages, life orientation skills and continuous assessment for pupils are widely viewed as game-changers in a country whose education system has been described in some circles as “advanced, but too academic”.
While the jury is still out on Dr Dokora’s performance, Zimbabwe will have an entirely new education system come 2021.
LECTURERS in universities and colleges as well as teachers in public and private schools who are found guilty of abusing students risk having their degrees and diplomas cancelled by the Government to curb rampant abuse, especially of female learners.
Speaking at a Mkoba Teachers’ College graduation ceremony in Gweru yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Dr Godfrey Gandawa, said there was an urgent need to curb the surge in sexual abuse of learners in schools, colleges and universities.
He said cases of abuse of students were rampant.
Dr Gandawa said punishments such as imprisonment or expulsion from work was not enough since perpetrators always ended up teaching elsewhere using their diplomas or degrees.
THE Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) has petitioned Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo demanding the scrapping of attachment fees for all students on industrial attachment.
Zinasu secretary-general Makomborero Haruzivishe also urged government to craft a law to force companies to pay basic subsistence allowances to students on industrial attachment as a form of appreciation and to cushion them against the harsh economic environment.
“We fully understand and are aware that students would be off campus and will not be using exclusive university/college materials, services and facilities. As such, we are sternly proposing the immediate scrapping of tuition fees for students on attachment for if the students do not have use for the services charged for in the tuition fees breakdown, then why pay?” Haruzivishe said.
He added: “They (students) are also perennial victims of modern-day slavery for companies are not obliged by the law to pay even basic subsistence allowances to these students. Some are forced to work in risky environments like deep mine shafts for the whole year for free only to be told at the end of the year that they cannot be assessed because they have failed to pay an unjustifiable and inflated tuition fee.
“The students said it is only fair that they should be paid a stipend considering the work they do in some organisations that lead to production.
GOVERNMENT has roped in financial services company, Old Mutual, to fund its irrigation and fish farming projects at 2 500 high schools across the country as part of the new education curricular introduced by Education minister Lazarus Dokora early this year.
President Robert Mugabe announced the deal yesterday during the official opening of the children’s party ahead of today’s 37th Independence celebrations.
“The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has commenced the Zimbabwe Schools Water and Agriculture Project that will see secondary schools in all the eight provinces commence agricultural study-work programming, borehole drilling through drip irrigation, fish farming and the benefit of solar power system,” he said.
“To date 45 boreholes have been drilled and it is planned that from May 2017, a total of 100 boreholes will be drilled every month. The same project is expected to contribute significantly to the sustenance of the school feeding programme and to competence-based learning by all of you.”
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