THE University of Zimbabwe failed to open this week for the second time this year as the institution struggles to mobilise vital resources.
Besides the resources, few students had registered to commence studies on Monday while the majority could not to raise the proposed fees of between US$150 and US$400 set by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
The university also has an acute shortage of lecturers.
Ruzivo Midzi, secretary-general of the Association of University Teachers, told the Zimbabwe Independent that both academic and non-academic staff at the UZ had not reported for work as they were entangled in a salary dispute with the college administration.
Midzi said: â€œFor several months the staff have not been receiving reasonable salaries and it was only in February that we were paid in foreign currency after a directive from the Minister of Finance (Tendai Biti) but now we are still to receive our March salaries.
â€œIt is not about the salaries only. It is about the whole institution. The place looks abandoned with long grass and shrubs growing all over the campus. There is scarcity of water â€” no single toilet is functioning there. There is no sanitation whatsoever.â€
Midzi said they had advised the administration that it was not wise to open the university this week before a number of outstanding issues were addressed.
â€œThe administration insisted that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education had promised that government was going to give them money. The administration was a bit naÃ¯ve, there is no money for bond paper and it has proved difficult for outsiders who want to collect their transcripts. They have to bring their own bond paper,â€ he added.
Midzi said they were looking at being paid at least US$2 500 monthly.
â€œThis demands a great will on the part of the government. All state universities are a human resource database in this country. If we cannot train the accountants, doctors and lawyers where will the country get the experts from? If government does not come in the future of UZ is bleak,â€ he said.
UZ acting director of information and public relations Ruby Magosvongwe this week said the varsity could not open because of lack of resources.
She said the unavailability of resources had pushed students to fund their own facilities, referring to a group of medical students under Health Volunteers for Africa who recently donated a consignment of antibiotics and other medical sundries for the university clinic.
Magosvongwe confirmed that the UZ had postponed opening to a date yet to be set.
â€œWe issued news releases that the UZ was not opening this week due to insufficient resources. The halls of residence and the university have no water and thus the institution cannot be opened,â€ she said.
The UZ opened briefly in February but was closed after students demonstrated against the exorbitant fees in foreign currency.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA