The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is disturbed by pronouncements by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education concerning parents or guardians borrowing loans based on their income on behalf of students in an economy where the majority are unemployed and do not have proof of income.
The ZCTU finds it absurd for the ministry to offer such a discriminatory condition on a rights issue which must be enjoyed and be accessible to all at a time most students are failing to raise the required fees. With most parents and guardians being jobless, retrenchees or pensioners, the attached condition disadvantages the needy and deserving. The government should not create elitism for education but should instead extend the loans to all students since education is a basic right.
The government is reneging on its responsibility to provide education for all and is now reintroducing a bottleneck system for education, discriminating against the poor. Policies must be crafted to leverage the disadvantaged not the other way round. It is surprising that after noting that thousands of students have dropped out of tertiary education institutions after failing to pay the required fees the government comes up with such a discriminatory arrangement. The arrangement is not helping the situation as previously affected ‘class’ of students which dropped out would also not be eligible for the loans making education a preserve of the elite.
The ZCTU calls upon the government to review its conditions and avail the loans unconditionally to deserving students. We also demand the scrapping of fees during attachment periods and a speedy disbursement of Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund grants to the students during the learner-ship period.