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Universities have been given the go ahead to peg their fees in United States dollars while allowing use of local currency convertible.

at interbank rate at the time of payment with Government reaffirming its commitment to ensuring that the fees remain reasonable.
The development comes as the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development is looking at various fees proposals brought to its attention by the universities for approval.

The ministry noted that there was a need to balance university accessibility, provision of quality education and the sustenance and maintenance of institutions.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the Government agreed for universities to peg fees in USD after concerns were raised that students were waiting for depreciation in value before paying their fees and to avoid the process of adjusting the fees at every turn.

“We are still in the process of looking at the fees structures proposed by institutions. Some of them have been approved and the Minister has signed.

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“Some institutions are still working on the process internally and are yet to submit their proposals. What we have agreed is that fees should be pegged in USD but payable in any other currency,” said Prof Tagwira.

He said as a ministry, they were keen on regulating tuition fees with other costs like food and accommodation differing from institution to institution.

“The reason why we agreed to pegging fees in USD is to avoid a situation where fees have to be adjusted from time to time due to fluctuations in the exchange rates. Institutions also observed that students were not paying their fees and were waiting for the value to depreciate.

“However, while I cannot give the exact figure for tuition at State universities, the fees that have been approved so far are very reasonable. You will note that most of our universities are cheaper than most secondary schools so that every child gets an opportunity to access education,” said Prof Tagwira.

He said those who could not afford fees should approach their institutions and access the work for fees programme which the Government availed.

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“You might recall that as Government we introduced the work for fees programme which is slowly getting appreciated with more than 100 University of Zimbabwe students having taken up the programme. If students do not want to work then they are not in distress,” said Prof Tagwira.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) students are up in arms with authorities at the institution claiming they were not consulted and are threatening not to pay fees.

According to a memo seen by Sunday News, which was signed by the Harare Region secretary-general, Tinashe Tunha, the students said they were not going to pay the fees.

“In light of the ongoing squabbles over the unjustified fees increments, illegal conversion of Zimbabwe dollar fees ordinance to US dollar at the end of last semester, lack of transparency and consultation by the National SRC coupled with the arrogance of university administration, we the Harare SRC, do hereby make a clarion call to all Harare Region students, and all those who are in solidarity with us, to STOP paying any fees forthwith until:

“a) The ZOU administration produces approval from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development authorising them to convert Zimbabwe dollar fees balances to US dollar.

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“b) The National SRC comes clean on its endorsement of the US$100 per course fees for the second semester of 2023.

“c) The administration and the National SRC begin to consult students before charging fees in line with the audi alteram partem (listen to the other side) principle.”

Bulawayo students also came through claiming solidarity with other regions saying there would be no registration and fees payment until the issue of fees increase was resolved.

“We find it not justifiable for ZOU to raise fees which by far does not meet the quality of services they are offering. We are printing out our own modules, we are having limited student-lecturer interaction, due to these reasons we find it not necessary for admin to raise fees.

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