Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Reporter
THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) is owed $3,7 million by government in unpaid fees for students on the cadetship programme, a development the institution says is affecting academic activities.
The government’s cadetship programme caters for students from less privileged families who cannot afford to pay fees on their own.
Students who are on the programme are bonded for some time while paying back their debt to the government.
Nust’s director of information and public relations Felix Moyo said it was imperative that government settles the debt.
“We are owed $3,7 million in unpaid fees for students on cadetship and we need this money to buy teaching equipment. We’re aware that there are economic challenges but the government should make efforts to reduce the debt at least by a certain percentage on a quarterly basis,” he said.
Moyo said while the university was a science institute, they were struggling to buy the necessary chemicals and other equipment.
“As Nust we are supposed to be a centre of excellence when it comes to the advancement of technology and for us to do that we need our infrastructure and equipment,” he said.
Moyo said because of lack of funds, Nust was being forced to prioritise some projects while giving little attention to others, thus downplaying them.
“We no longer have vehicles and our vehicle fleet is too old. Because of the debt we have to schedule the way we buy chemicals and other equipment because we can’t afford to buy everything at one go,” he said.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development is on record as saying that it is struggling to pay millions of dollars it owes various institutions of higher learning whose students are on the cadetship programme.
The situation is worsened by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development’s delay in releasing money allocated to line ministries.