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University closure calls for probe

ALLOW me space in your paper to air my views regarding the closure of the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).


It seems the issue has long been forgotten yet more tha

n 2 000 students are facing a bleak future.


From my point of view, the media has not dug deeper into the issue of the now defunct university so those responsible for the closure have escaped public wrath.


Allow me as one of the affected students to ask the following questions:


* What were the reasons behind the closure of the university?


* Who were the owners of the university? and


* Where do affected students direct their queries?


Answers to these and other questions will help enlighten the public of what really transpired.


Interestingly, the GZU is not the first to be closed by government. All universities in Zimbabwe have had their own share of problems peculiar to themselves.


As a matter of fact, for one to allow the problems at the GZU to reach unprecedented levels raises a lot of eyebrows. Are you aware that almost three quarters of the students at the GZU were unaware of the said problems carried in the state-owned media?


Even the law students only smelt the dust when the press carried a report to the effect that the Law Society of Zimbabwe would not recognise their degree. Had there been fertile grounds to close the university, wasn’t it proper that the university authorities should have been ordered to put their house in order within a stipulated time. One would cite the University of Zimbabwe’s many closures but the university was not shut for good.

There is more to the closure than most of us were made to believe through the state media. As if that is not enough, the acting vice-chancellor and all her staff were absorbed into state universities. Why?


If they were responsible for running the GZU, who then cleansed them of any wrong-doing? Who is fooling who?


Further, the task force instituted by the president to look into problems at the university never called student representatives for hearing. One would want to know for whose benefit this task force was working?


Students who were doing the Bachelor of Education degree Special Needs Education, granted a two-year leave by the Ministry of Education to undertake the course which they completed in December 2003, are still to be issued with certificates.


Authorities at Masvingo State University are arguing that they can’t certify them because they did not do any course with them. The conditions are that they should register with the university. This is the scenario with all the remaining faculties.


For example, students who were doing MEd Educational Psychology were asked to repeat the courses they had already completed and passed. Students on MEd Special Needs Education were asked to drop the course and join the MEd Psychology degree programme.


Students who were on attachments were recalled and asked to start the course anew altogether. Those who were studying BSc Geography (Honours) were asked to start on a BA.


The problems are too many to enumerate but one hopes that the powers-that-be will come to their senses and make sober decisions.

One task force member hinted that students from the GZU were supposed to continue with their courses at Masvingo State University but unfortunately that is not the case.


It seems students have become victims of political gimmicks. If the GZU hired lecturers from Masvingo State University and other universities around the country, where is the logic to claim that our courses were not good enough when the same tutors are teaching the same courses at different campuses?


There is need for sympathisers to dig deeper into the problems faced by former students of the GZU.


Most of the students are family men and women who have been caused much inconvenience.


There is need for transparency and consultation in decision-making. While there is need to be patriotic, where are the fruits of Independence when citizens are treated as second-class people?


Is there any justification in repeating courses one has already covered? For God’s sake, we did not vote for the closure of the university. Those responsible are enjoying while we languish in despair.


Luckos Ndlovu,

Chitungwiza.

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