By Mbekezeli Ncube
ZIMBABWE National Students Union (ZINASU) says it shares the same concerns with the government to save the 2020 academic year, but students will only return to class if assured the learning institutions will adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 guidelines.
State universities reopen on June 1 with final year students attending lectures while the rest will use e-learning platforms.
However, ZINASU has tabled a raft of requirements the students’ body wants met before learners start lectures.
The students are also demanding that government takes strict safety precautions with universities availing face masks, sanitisers and Covid-19 test kits to all students and staff members.
“We demand safety, protection and prevention of the spread of Covid-19 whereby students can only be on campuses if the government can assure the nation that institutions will adhere to World Health Organisation’s guidelines on prevention of the spread of COVID-19,” ZINASU secretary Tapiwanashe Chiringa said.
“There must be adequate rapid test kits and face masks and sanitisers for staff and students must be provided. End of semester examinations should not be a rushed formality but a proper process lest the majority of students be unfairly condemned to failure.”
Chiringa also urged the government not to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic and request from students, university fees for a semester that was abruptly stopped in March when a five-week national lockdown was imposed.
“We are aware of sinister plans to make students pay fees for the resumption of a semester they had already paid for. Institutions should not fairly ambush students with fee increments.”
“Any attempts to force the students to pay twice for a single semester shall be resisted and we maintain that any extra costs shall be borne by the State institutions and should be ready to accommodate all returning students inside halls of residence to avoid exploitation of students by landlords,” he added.