University of Zimbabwe students stage protest against 1,000% fees hike to ZWD$500k; mount legal challenge to force reversal

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By Mary Taruvinga I Senior Reporter

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) students Monday staged a flash demonstration over the latest round of tuition fees hike, and have vowed to boycott lectures until the new fees are reversed.

The university has increased fees by a staggering 1,000%, triggering an outcry among students, who feel the new fees structures were too high.

Addressing the gathering, UZ Students Representative Council (SRC) president Allan Chipoyi, urged learners to stay at home, while hinting on an impending court challenge over the increases.

Chipoyi said the upward review was unacceptable.

“The institution, without any explanation, increased fees from the ZW$50,000 the students have been paying to ZW$500,000, which is half a million dollars,” Chipoyi said.

“There were no consultations made by the administration with the union leaders to effect that position.

“Our message is very clear, the administration cannot do whatever they want without consultation. They have to consult the students, who are the main stakeholders of this institution.”

He added, “The students are very angry, in fact, pertaining to this demonstration, there was no interference from ZINASU and ZICOSU.

“The students mobilised themselves because they are not happy with the situation.”

Chipoyi said the police refused to grant students permission to stage demonstrations at the campus, so they had no option but to boycott lectures.

“One of the remedies the students have chosen is to do a demonstration, and as SRC we are taking the another channel which is the court and challenge the irrational decision that has been made by the vice chancellor, together with the other executive members of this institution.

“In that regard we are calling on  the student unions to just refrain themselves from attending tomorrow’s lectures until when the administration goes back and reverses their decision.

“Even if we are to apply for the clearance of our demonstration we will never get it so we are saying stay away. So, students of UZ stay away tomorrow. Do not come for lectures until this matter is resolved.”

According to the new fee structure, students are required to pay up to $500,000 from around $50,000 depending on their faculty, which is equivalent to US$900 at the interbank rate.

Students pursuing a Master’s degree will have to fork out up to $1 million.

The university has also increased accommodation fees from $71,000 to US$616 or the equivalent in local currency for the August to December semester.

Accommodation fees for the semester that ended on July 22 were equivalent to US$350.