Tinashe, an economic blogger, has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pleading for his assistance in the establishment of a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Student Town.
Tinashe voiced worry in an open letter obtained by ZiMetro News that the University of Zambia has failed its key clients, the students, who are either living in cramped university lodgings or paying excessive commercial rents in the adjacent neighborhoods.
Tinashe stated that the institution has a vast land bank in an excellent position that is now underdeveloped and overgrown.
He stated that developers are interested in constructing housing for over 10,000 students, as well as a commercial and industrial park and staff housing.
He said this idea was proposed in the 1980s but has not been implemented due to academics in leadership roles who prioritize political interests over the needs of the university and its students. He said:
There is something wrong with academics running university administration. Teaching is NOT the same as leading an organization.
The UZ has failed in serving its primary customers who are students. It pains me greatly to see thousands of students either packed like sardines in university accommodation or having to pay commercial rentals in the neighbourhoods surrounding the UZ. Again, in these places they’re packed like sardines.
Yet, the UZ has probably one of the biggest land banks in Harare, in a good neighbourhood. Now overgrown in grass.
Developers are itching to get a piece of the action.
UZ must create a student town. There is enough land and interest from developers to build accommodation for over ten thousand students. Beyond those who school at UZ. With it, must come a commercial and industrial park. And staff accommodation with many fancy duplex townhouses. Support staff at UZ is in the thousands. Many of whom will never own a property.
This is not a new idea. It was mooted back in 80’s. That it hasn’t happened is purely because academics in political robes can’t be administrators. They don’t even understand the business case nor have the smarts to implement. They think their job is to serve political interests. Why else would dubious PHD’s be issued?
It’s time GOZ gets proper administrators to run the UZ NOT academics. There is enough land to get all major developers to partner with the UZ. UZ is sitting on a dead asset and management is tenured and will never get fired. The minister sits in cabinet best known for some looney ideas of space and orbiting satellites. While UZ primary customers battle in the lives of sardines.
Mr President. Do something.
A student town is a community or area built primarily to provide accommodation for students attending a nearby university or college. Student towns may also include amenities such as shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, all intended to cater to the needs of the student population.
The concept of student towns has gained popularity in recent years as universities and colleges have expanded their enrollments, leading to increased demand for student housing.
Student towns can help alleviate housing shortages and improve the overall student experience by creating a sense of community and providing convenient access to campus resources. Additionally, student towns can have a positive impact on the local economy by bringing in new businesses and creating jobs.