THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) allegedly suffered cyber attacks yesterday with the hackers demanding more than $6 billion to restore information to their websites. HIT public relations officer Mr Tinashe Mutema confirmed the attack on the institution’s website.
Nust director of Information and publicity Mr Felix Moyo maintained there had been no attack but students and lecturers insisted they could not access the website yesterday.
Mr Mutema said the hackers demanded a ransom of 1 000 Bitcoins, a virtual currency from anyone who attempted to log onto the website.
The institution has 2 000 students and more than 400 members of staff. One Bitcoin is worth $2 667 online. The hackers may have been targeting to get about $6,4 billion.
“I can confirm that we were attacked yesterday at around 4:30AM. Social media is however blowing the whole matter out of proportion. The attackers hacked into our website. They had temporary control of the servers hosting our website and emails. We pulled our systems from the internet until we managed to sort out the matter today (yesterday),” said Mr Mutema.
He said the institution had since engaged the police who are carrying out investigations.
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.
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.
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.
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