Universities Granted Permission to Charge USD
20 August 2023
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In a significant development, universities in Zimbabwe have received approval to peg their fees in United States dollars (USD), while allowing payment in local currency convertible at the interbank rate during the time of payment. The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has been reviewing various fee proposals submitted by universities for approval.

The decision comes as the government acknowledges the need to strike a balance between ensuring accessibility to higher education, delivering quality education, and sustaining institutions. Professor Fanuel Tagwira, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, confirmed that the decision was made to address concerns about students waiting for currency depreciation before paying their fees, and to avoid frequent fee adjustments due to exchange rate fluctuations.

While the government aims to regulate tuition fees, other costs such as food and accommodation may vary across institutions. The move to peg fees in USD is expected to provide stability and encourage timely payment.

Professor Tagwira emphasized that the approved fees are reasonable, with the objective of making higher education accessible to all. He also mentioned the availability of the “work for fees” program, allowing students who cannot afford tuition to contribute through work.

However, tensions have arisen at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), where students claim they were not consulted about fee changes and are threatening to withhold payments. The students demand transparency, consultation, and government approval for the conversion of Zimbabwe dollar fees to USD. Solidarity among students from various regions further reinforces the call for fair fees that reflect the quality of education provided.

The situation remains dynamic as universities work towards implementing the new fee structures, and the government continues to engage with student concerns and seek equitable solutions.- state media