Rutendo Ngara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Government has dismissed social media messages that universities have raised fees by more than 500 percent.
One of the messages reads: “University of Zimbabwe fees increased to $15 000 per semester. Medicine Faculty to pay $45 000 per semester. Law Full time $12 000 and part time $21 500 per semester. The Ministry of Higher education has granted all State universities and other tertiary institutions authority to raise the fees which had not been raised in tandem with inflation.”
A table of fees purportedly for Chinhoyi University of Technology (Cut) shows figures ranging between $4 245 and $15 000 while international students are supposed to pay US$3 000. Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) fees, according to the messages, is pegged at $12 598 per semester.
In a telephone interview yesterday, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Development Professor Amon Murwira said the messages circulating on social media are there to cause despondency because Government has not approved any fees increases.
“It is shocking, I saw the messages on twitter and I was so disappointed with social media. These messages are causing despondency in the country. Who can afford to pay $45 000 for fees in this country, I mean what will be your salary?” asked Prof Murwira.
“We have not even adjusted anything on the ground. Even if we increase the fees it will not be that much, it is just a pack of lies. No committee has sat to discuss fees structures for next year,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the Government had indicated fees will be adjusted at the end of the austerity period but nothing had been said as of now.
In July, Government warned universities against raising fees without approval, amid reports that some varsities countrywide had attempted to unilaterally hike fees.
Universities increased fees for parallel and block students, leaving out conventional ones whose public outcry usually draws attention.
Prof Murwira said at the time fees for all undergraduate categories remain unchanged.
“All fees to do with undergraduate studies have not been increased, as such communication passes through my office. I have not signed an ordinance to that effect.
“Fees remain the same until we put alternative payment methods as we are working on introducing grants. As for the undergraduates, there is no compromise except for post-graduate, there is that leverage since it is optional,” he said.
The minister said despite people being under pressure financially, universities should not be careless by wantonly hiking fees. — @missngara