THE Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) has urged the government to speedily reinstate student grants and loans saying commercialisation of the education sector had forced students to engage in immorality while making it difficult for some to enroll in tertiary institutions due to financial constraints.
The government is contemplating re-introducing the student grant scheme early next year in a bid to ease the plight of students in tertiary institutions countrywide.
In a statement, Zinasu bemoaned the failure of the cadetship programme and urged the government to replace the failed programme with student grants and loans.
“We note with concern the failure of the cadetship scheme and resolve to engage the government to reinstate the loans and grants scheme which saw the majority of ministers in government today attaining their degrees,” the statement reads.
“Students note that the current regime has commercialised tertiary education by charging exorbitant fees which the majority of students can’t afford as they are sons and daughters of peasant farmers.”
The student body also argued that the government had a constitutional mandate to provide free education for all hence the need for it to set the grant and loans scheme to bail out students struggling to pay fees.
“The bottleneck approach by the government must with immediate effect cease as the new Constitution stipulates that everyone has the right to State-funded education and therefore, we call upon the government to give loans and grants to students as this will improve their welfare.”
Zinasu urged the government to immediately address the issue of accommodation in tertiary institutions countrywide saying the squalid conditions they were currently exposed to, posed a health threat.
“We as Zinasu demand that the Ministry of Finance channel more funding to refurbishment of infrastructure in tertiary institutions as they pose a serious health threat to the students.
“As the cholera outbreak looms, we demand that the government takes action to improve the standards of student housing with immediate effect,” the union added.