Minister says govenment can’t stop private varsities

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THE government says it is not in a position to stop the proliferation of private universities as there is demand and more institutions enable students to learn in an environment that is close to their communities.

CHIEF REPORTER

There has been an outcry that most private universities were not registered with the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche) and offered degrees that were not recognised in the country.

Senator Nyamayabo Mashavakure, who represents people living with disabilities in the Upper House, last week asked Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa if it was possible for the government to advise private universities to establish centres outside Harare as the capital was now overwhelmed.

“Many universities are mushrooming in Harare. We have about three government universities and other church universities.

“Would it not be possible for you to encourage other players to go and construct universities in places such as Kwekwe, Kadoma and Kariba because Harare is now flooded with universities? I also hear that the Anglican Church is going to build another university in Chitungwiza,” said Mashavakure.

Gandawa said it was the government’s plan for each province to have a university.

“We can use our State universities, but we cannot bar non-State universities to come into that field for as long as there is need which the university is going to fulfil.

“As a ministry, we advise them what other subjects they can teach and give them charters for the universities. These are laws that ensure that such universities are beneficial to the State,” said Gandawa.

“We cannot bar anyone from constructing a university, be it in Harare or Masvingo, because it is our wish and our hope as the government that at least each province should have a university. It is good for our development and it will enable students to learn in an environment that is close to their community,” he said.

In March, Zimche said there were colleges offering degrees in association with institutions domiciled outside Zimbabwe, but the law required that all institutions, including foreign-based ones, offering such services, be registered locally.

Zimche said universities such as the Pan-African College of Zimbabwe, Megham Consulting, United Theological College, University of Africa (not Africa University), Christ College (except programmes offered under affiliateship with Great Zimbabwe University) are officially closed.