Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
STUDENTS at the Zimbabwe School of Mines in Bulawayo yesterday staged a demonstration at the institution over alleged poor services which they said were in contrast with high fees they were paying.
When The Chronicle visited the institution at about 10AM, scores of students had gathered at its main entrance barring officials from accessing the school.
The students rendered useless, security personnel stationed at the school’s main entrance.
The students said they were paying nearly $2 500 per semester and they felt cheated.
“A student can buy a Honda Fit vehicle every semester with the fees. It’s really depressing that we are not getting the best service from the institution. We can’t allow this to continue as if everything is normal,” said one of the students.
The students wrote a letter to the school’s management calling for a swift address of their grievances.
“As students we have realised we are not being accorded due services. The following are issues that we students need to be addressed by whoever is responsible,” reads the letter.
The issues were placed in two categories; the academic matters and welfare related ones.
On academic issues the students were demanding that the institution introduces a payment plan system, install WI-FI on campus, reduce college fees during attachment, provide adequate accommodation and a good learning environment.
In matters to do with their welfare, students demanded that the institution provide a medical aid facility for learners, affordable food and address the accommodation shortages as students were now sharing rooms meant for one person.
“This memo serves to inform responsible authorities at the school that we have spoken. Give us our proper and rightful services (services worth $2 000) (sic),” reads part of the memo.
The Chronicle managed to access the institution and observed one of the lecturers begging students to let them into one of the lecture rooms, which they had closed.
ZSM chief executive officer Mr Dzingirai Tusai cited an aborted field trip and the institution’s failure to communicate with students as the reasons behind the demonstration.
“They went on to write the list that you make reference to. But I don’t want to call them grievances but just concerns because a lot of them were just information that they were not sure of as they don’t know how things operate and how things are done,” he said.
Mr Tusai said students were justified in demonstrating as they have a right to be heard. He said following the protests, he addressed the students assuring them that their concerns would be addressed.