Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GOVERNMENT wants former students who received State funding during their studies to pay back a flat fee amounting to $1000 to be used as a revolving fund to benefit students.
Addressing delegates and students at the 28th Gweru Polytechnic College graduation and prize giving ceremony yesterday, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said even those who claim to have paid back educational loans or grants will be expected to pay the once off $1000.
He said government was sensitive to the plight of current and future students.
“What we are considering is to get all your predecessors who have graduated from tertiary institutions since 1980, starting with UZ (University of Zimbabwe), who got either a grant or loan to pay a flat fee or amount of $1000. So anyone who graduated from our tertiary institutions between 1980 to 2006 will be required to pay $1 000 and I know there are some like Mr Dewa who is the acting Principal Director for academic affairs in the Ministry and a recipient or beneficiary.
“He claims that he paid back his loan and there many others who make such claims. So it will not matter whether you paid back the loan or not, as long as you got state funded assistance for Higher and Tertiary Education between 1980 and 2006, you will be required to pay the money where ever you are.
“Whether you are here or in the Diaspora we will find you and require from you $1000 to contribute to a revolving fund to support current and prospective Higher and Tertiary education students,” Prof Moyo said.
He did not state how they will enforce the requirement for one to pay, especially those outside the country or why the period covered is between 1980 and 2006.
Prof Moyo said government was finalising the introduction of an educational loan facility which would be accessed by students to finance their studies.
He said the facility was co-funded and guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“The facility co-funded and guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will see selected private financial institutions rolling out flexible and affordable loan facilities to students and parents under the pay-as-you-learn concept. Needless to say the facility will ensure that higher and tertiary education institutions will be better able to deploy adequate resources for quality human capital development. The following institutions have met the requirements to offer loans to students on behalf of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe namely CBZ Bank Limited, Eduloan, Getbucks, NMB Bank Limited, People’s Own Savings Bank and ZB Bank Limited,” Prof Moyo said.
Prospective students, he said, will access application forms at their respective institutions, the participating banks or from the Ministry’s website.
Prof Moyo said tertiary institutions were not doing enough to get their students places for attachment.
He said a taskforce on the transformation of higher education was expected to comprehensively address attachment issues.
The Minister said the expectation is that those on attachment should not pay the normal full fees when they are on industrial secondment.
“Many students are increasingly failing to find attachment. The time has come for the attachment regime for higher and tertiary education institutions to be reviewed and reformed,” he said. — @pchitumba1