By Paul Nyathi
After a protracted battle with students and parliament over the issue of students paying university tuition fees while on attachments, the government has finally conceded.
In a statement made on Thursday, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development announced that it was cutting the fees down by 40% with immediate effect.
In the brief statement, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry Desire Sibanda announced that the government had listened to the pleas of the students and considered their socio economic situations and agreed to cut the fees.
Sibanda said that the 60% that remains will be used for administration and supervisory costs of the students work while they are on attachment.
Member of Parliament for Mutasa South Honourable Irene Zindi has been pushing the issue in parliament to the Ministry in a bid to have the fees cancelled out altogether.
Her latest push on the matter was at the Wednesday Question and Answer session in the House of Assembly where she questioned Minister when government was going to review the policy.
Honourable Zindi argued that it was not fair for government to levy the students full fees when the Ministry only visits the students for assessment at most twice throughout the attachment period.
“Hon. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and this is to do with the policy direction in relation to students having to pay full tuition fees when they are on attachments and yet perhaps, they have only two monitoring visits by the lecturers,” she said.
“What is the policy direction in as far as full tuition payment is concerned looking at the economic hardships most parents are experiencing?”
Sibanda said that the latest statement cancels Statutory Instrument 6 of 1997 that compelled learners to pay fees while they are on attachments.