Students have started paying new tuition fees at universities and polytechnics and there has been no interruption to learning, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira has said.
He said the new fees were reasonable and affordable and there had been no disruption to learning owing to the adjusted fees.
Prof Murwira said this before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education chaired by Kuwadzana MP Ms Miriam Mushayi (MDC-Alliance.)
Last week, some students had indicated before the same committee that fewer students had registered with universities owing to high fees.
“It should be noted that students are paying the fees,” said Prof Murwira while addressing legislators early this week.
“I know at Midlands State University, the number of students that have paid their fees so far is much more than the past three years. In other words the information that I have is that in 2017, 7 800 students had paid by this time, 2018 at least 8 100 had paid, last year 13 000 had paid but in March this year we have 9 500 who have already paid, which is higher.”
Prof Murwira’s assertion was supported by Vice Chancellor of Midlands State University Professor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa and University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo, who said the registration of students had been going smoothly.
Prof Murwira said there was need to match tuition fees with acceptable standards so that the quality of education was not compromised.
“Education costs money,” he said.
“Our discussion must be on how we can raise the money. It can be raised through Government support, or other means. We cannot sacrifice the quality of our education due to populist demands.
“Unfortunately, this area of education is the only one that does not need populism, because everyone else, including legislators came through that process.”
Prof Murwira said they raised the fees in anticipation of a salary adjustment of civil servants which they were aware of.
“The suggestion that parents used to honour student’s fees with one month’s salary is a fallacy and not fact. To date the same salary median for the bulk of civil servants stands at $3 000 to $4 500 meaning that the ratio of the medial salary to the cost of fees has actually been significantly reduced by the new current fees structure that ranges from $4 500 to $7 500.”