AMY GAYNOR SHIRTO
THOUSANDS of University of Zimbabwe students might this coming academic year be forced to drop out of college.
This is so because the college is turning away all students on cadetship because government is failing to pay the learning institution.
This issue has caused unrest within the student community.
Cadetship is a scheme where government pays fees for students in State universities, who cannot afford to pay the full amount.
University authorities are turning away the students from paying the mandatory fees of US$69 saying the scheme had been scrapped and are demanding full tuition fees.
It is disheartening that the government has chosen to neglect its obligation to pay for the students and in the process jeopardise their future.
It is our understanding after talking to officials from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education that this contract (cadetship) is still standing.
However, the ministry alleges that government has not been paying the institution for the cadetship scheme and owes the university millions of dollars.
So who is the culprit responsible for this fiasco?
The blame may lie with the Treasury.
Officials from the Ministry of Finance would not tolerate any questions from student leaders who tried to seek clarity on the matter.
The students left the building disheartened and humiliated.
Many students are saying going back to college is no longer an option as they cannot find the money to pay the fees.
A number of students have made the decision to abandon studies and cross the border into neighbouring South Africa in search of employment.
It is feared that some will turn to prostitution and crime in a bid to raise fees to complete studies.
It is also pathetic that students, who are supposed to be the future of the nation, have been reduced to such invalids.
After 32 years of independence, education, which is a basic right of every Zimbabwean, is still unaffordable to a majority of the people in the country.
l Amy Gaynor Shirto is the secretary general of the University of Zimbabwe student representative council (SRC).