POOR remuneration and lack of teaching resources are expected to top the list of problems affecting tertiary institutions currently being visited by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The committee, chaired by MDC legislator for Seke, Fidelis Mhashu, toured Midlands State University, Mkoba Teachers College, Hillside Teachers College, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic and Bulawayo Polytechnic and is expected to compile a report of its findings for presentation to parliament.
Although Mhashu refused to disclose the team’s findings, he said: “We toured a number of colleges to assess the situation on the campuses and to get the side of students and staff on the problems they are facing. My committee is going to present a report in parliament anytime from now.”
Issues likely to top the list are poor staff salaries, lack of teaching resources such as computers, and textbooks, and failure by government to release resources to kick-start building projects that have been on the drawing boards for many years.
Midlands State University still operates without a proper campus while the construction of Lupane University in Matabeleland North has yet to start.
The tour was prompted by widespread complaints from students and parents after government raised fees at tertiary institutions by more than 500% in February.
State grants to students fall far short of what they are expected to pay as tuition and accommodation fees.
Last week students at Bindura University reportedly torched a computer laboratory during a demonstration against fees hike and the late payments of grants.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) remained resolute that it would lead students to boycott lectures in protest against high fees, beginning Monday if the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education,
Stan Mudenge, doesn’t review them.
Zinasu president, Promise Mkwananzi, said: “We are still standing by our demands that government must review the hiked fees with immediate effect.”