By Dr Masimba Mavaza | Zimbabweans are alarmed at the prospect of not sending their children to school after a heavy crazy increment of gees has been approved. Many saw it as a sell-out enabling the class system to crawl back into our system reminding us of the colonial era. The approved boarding school fees ranging from $75000 to $160000 is demonic cruel and pure witchcraft. It is indeed a cause for concern to parents, teachers and all citizens.
It baffles me to think that some one at the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education sleeps at night after approving such satanic increments.
Others give three exorbitant figures and ask parents to choose when in practice parents have no choice at all. It remains baffling how Ministry officials approve 150-350% fees increase. The increment is meant to introduce the process of marketisation of higher education, leading schools to compete by setting different tuition fee rates.
This then has triggered the schools to set their tuition fees at the cap price, fearing that offering a lower price would suggest they were offering lower quality. This pride places a heavy burden on the parents.
The ministry is introducing market forces to a sector that does not operate a market and now puts the financial sustainability of the sector at risk. The government must retreat from the notion of treating students as consumers.
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research.
The purpose of the measure cannot be to compensate for a cut in the education budget at a time when the country is said to be coming out of the austerity measures to aid recovery from the financial crisis of 2020 to 2021.
The parents are angry and the
source of anger is the complacency of the government to allow tuition fees to triple despite having pledged during the general election to phase fees out altogether.
We know that In an ideal world, no graduate would have to contribute more for their degree. But our economic reality is far from ideal. The real decision is not if we reform education funding but how we reform it. And how we help the people who need it most.
We cannot sit back as ruling party while the fee hile is pulling down our support in the electorate.
Fee hiking needs a political decision because the civil servants who decide have never negotiated for a vote and they do not know how difficult it is to win a vote.
We work in the best interest of the electorate. These fees are our downfall if we do not hid the advice.
The rise is cruel and not wrapped in reason. The Right to an Education is one of the most important principles. Education is a key social and cultural right and plays an important role in reducing poverty and child labour. Furthermore, education promotes democracy, peace, tolerance, development and economic growth. Education is not a privilege. It is a human right it must never be compromised by high fees.
Education is a human right and the right to education is legally guaranteed for all without any discrimination. We can not discriminate by raising the fees and keep the poor out of school. This is a recipe for disaster.
We can not hide behind the finger the we have the obligation to protect, respect, and fulfil the right to education. As a government we must be accountable for violations or deprivations of the right to education. Citizens look up to us for decent fees. These fees approved are pervasive and obscene they are vulgar and insulting.
We will be effectively depriving our children the right to education which encompasses both entitlements and freedoms, including the right to free and compulsory primary education. Our children have a right to available and accessible secondary education which must be made progressively free.
Zimbabwe must create a situation of a right to equal access to higher education on the basis of reasonable or free education fees. Our children must enjoy the right to quality education both in public and private schools. The citizens must have the freedom to choose schools for their children which are in conformity with their religious and moral convictions.
The hiking of fees goes against each and every pillar of the rights.
When it comes to the tripling of tuition fees, the people’s jury has passed an emphatic verdict.
The fee increment is to prove disastrous for higher education due to the failure to take into account the income of the parents.
Perhaps more significantly, the continuing disillusionment of young voters with politicians in part due to the betrayal over tuition fees may lead many of them to stay at home during the elections and yet we need their votes.
The state should play a role to level the field as much as possible when it comes to education. By equalizing opportunities at this level the government must take unfairness relating to people’s background out of the system, leaving all to compete happily in a market economy.
The introduction of increased tuition fees will remove this level playing field as the expensive schools will increasingly become the sole preserve of the wealthy. Education is the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning and change undertaken in the belief that we all should have the chance to share in life.