By Bulawayo Correspondent
The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has sent students on forced vacation to “mourn” its former Chancellor and former State President Robert Mugabe who died in Singapore last Friday.
According to an internal memo from the University‘s Information and Public Relations Affairs, the campus will be closed from September 12 to 15 September 2019.
“The university of Zimbabwe wishes to inform all UZ students that the university shall be on recess from Thursday, 12 September to 15 September 2019 as we join the nation in mourning the passing on of former Head of State and government, His Excellency, Cde R.G Mugabe,” reads part of the circular.
According to the memo, lectures at the University will end on Wednesday at 1700 hours on the 16th of September.
“Resident students are expected back on campus on Sunday, 15th September 2019, starting at 1400 hours. However all staff are still expected to report for duty. Any inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted,” the circular also added.
The move has however been slammed as a violation of students’ rights to education by the firebrand Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu).
“The mentioned press release violates the welfare of the students in residents as this development was never highlighted on the academic calendar for this semester and thus will cause major inconvenience to students through expenses and other unforeseeable circumstances given the rash and unclear rationality of the statement,” said Leroy Mudhosi UZ ZINASU chairperson.
Parents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com also criticised the university’s decision to send students home to mourn Mugabe.
“My son only started his lectures at the university two weeks ago. I forked almost $1000 in groceries and transport for him to go to Harare. Surely with all the current hardships, the university should be considerate,” said a Bulawayo based parent.
During his rule, Mugabe was target of repeated rebuke by students from the country’s highest learning institution for his government’s controversial policies.
Mugabe was also subject to some demonstrations by the UZ after he in 2014 controversially capped his wife, Grace who had acquired what was widely believed to be a fraudulent doctorate that she had not studied for.