Treasury has released at least $6 million to each State university to subsidise student tuition fees as well as the institutions’ daily operations.
The money will help the higher learning institutions to moderate their fees structures.
The institutions had submitted to Government proposals about their need to increase the fees in order to finance daily overheads.
A fortnight ago, the institutions proposed fees hikes of up to $12 000 per semester, up from last semester’s $1 700.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira told The Sunday Mail that the disbursements are meant to cushion students from high fees.
“Government has released operations money so that the fees remain moderate,” he said.
“Each State university is being given an average of $6 million for operations this year, and this is for the first time. We are doing this in order to remove the burden of tuition fees on the students.
“The move seeks to ensure that our universities are able to operate optimally without having to charge exorbitant fees. Otherwise if they are to completely depend on fees, they will have no choice but to charge high amounts.”
Prof Murwira encouraged universities to invest in revenue-generating projects at their institutions. He said this will also subsidise tuition fees.
“Our long-term plan for industrialisation is to boost production at our industrial parks. That way, the need to increase tuition fees will go down,” he said.
“In order to kill this argument on fees once and for all, we must boost production in our industries and farms. Our students will learn almost for free because they will also be working.”
University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo confirmed the development, adding that the funding will result in the institution pegging “reasonable” fees.
“I can confirm the development. We had a meeting with the minister and we were very happy to hear that Government will support our operations,” he said.
Lupane State University Vice Chancellor, Professor Pardon Kuipa, also welcomed the development.
“I have been informed that the ministry has allocated some funds for our operations.
“We need the money and we are grateful that the ministry is thinking about us,” said Prof Kuipa.
He said consultations on fees increments are still in progress. Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (Zicosu) national president Pijiwest Nhamburo said Government’s intervention is timely.
“As students, we welcome the development. We feel honoured whenever our Government makes efforts to address the challenges we are facing as students,” he said.
Last week, Government said State universities must set their full fees, including tuition and accommodation, at $5 000 and below per semester.