THE Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development’s decision to suspend face to face lectures for tertiary institutions has been met with discontentment from students who feel the high tuition fees they paid are not congruent with the imposed option of online learning.
Infocus News caught up with students from the Hillside Teachers College and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) who lamented the hefty amounts of money they had already paid, only to be told to migrate to Online Learning.
The students said it is ‘unfair’ considering that they still have to buy data for online learning.
Miss Unami Ncube, a third-year student at Hillside Teachers College said, the unexpected closure of schools has left many students financially strained as they used large sums of money to pay their fees and the residential accommodation.
“I think that the government did not consider the financial implications when making the announcement. Firstly, they told us to pay our tuition fees in full and report for school. We had to look for that money because we had no choice, but now that we have paid, the ministry decides to close schools, which is financially burdensome for us.”
“Some students stay in rural areas, and they need transport to go back home but that money is not there so they are now stranded. We have been evicted by the school authorities and we are now forced to borrow money from those who might have it to at least get out of the school,” she said.
Another student from the same college, Buhlebenkosi Moyo concurred by stating that, she was aggrieved by how she left her family struggling to get basic necessities, after she had paid a substantial amount of money to the college.
“When I left home on Sunday, I felt sad because l left my family without enough money as I had already used most of it to pay my fees,” she said.
Moyo implored the College to refund students in order to be able to purchase data for online learning.
“As students, we demand that the school gives us our money back. It is not fair on us students who had already paid fees and still need to purchase data for online learning,” she added.
Thandekile Ndlovu, from the National University of Science and Technology said in light of the rising cases of Covid 19, the Ministry should have reopened institutions of higher learning.
Ndlovu said: “I think that the government did not really consider COVID-19. As students we have spent a lot of money which we cannot get back. I think that the Corona Virus could have killed many of us students.”
Media reports indicate that the Ministry acted decisively, following observations that COVID-19 cases were escalating on a daily basis, with a lecturer at Chinhoyi University of Technology having tested positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, July 23, 2020, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) suspended lectures following a contact from the Rapid Response Team about a student who shares accommodation outside campus with a case they were tracing, a clear indication that the reopening of tertiary institutions was an uninformed decision by government in line with the prevailing health issues.
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