Minister speaks on bonded graduates

Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa

HIGHER Education, Science and Technology Development deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa has suggested that bonded students under the cadetship scheme do not have to repay loans in monetary terms, but through the service that they may render to the nation.

Staff Reporter

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Gandiwa said the affected students were bonded to work in Zimbabwe, not only to be employed by the government, but could seek employment from the private sector.

He was responding to an inquiry on rationale behind bonding students under cadetship scheme.

According to the Hansard, Gandiwa said: “All students who are financially supported by the government through the cadetship programme are bonded for a period equal to the length of the study.

“They are bonded to work in Zimbabwe and not only employed by the government.

“For, as long as they work within the country, they can be employed by the private sector. Students do not repay the funds that are extended to them through the cadetship scheme towards their education.

“In other words, the repayment is through the service that they render to the nation. During the bonding period, the certificate or the transcripts are withheld by the institution.

“However, they are given certified copies of their results so that they use them for employment purposes.”

The cadetship scheme has been criticised for not giving students and graduates the opportunity to work and repay their debts.

The Special Cadet contract requires the prospective employer to remit at least one-third of the indebted graduate’s salary to the government.

Gandiwa said students who wished to work in other countries could do so, but they had to remit one-third of their salaries to the government during the bonding period.

“The memorandum of agreement on cadetship states that a special contract will be entered between the Zimbabwean government and the employer or the country concerned for remittance of the said amount,” he said.

“The Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development ministry administers such agreements through the Attorney-General’s office.”

Binga legislator Joel Gabbuza Gabuza asked the deputy minister what measures the government had put in place to assist unemployed beneficiaries of the cadetship scheme to secure employment.

Gandiwa said it was the prerogative of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry to employ, as his ministry only trained.

“People can be employed outside the country or by the private sector,” he said.

On Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi’s enquiry on the degree of success of recouping the funds, the deputy minister said “there is 100% remittance from the particular company or government department that has employed the people from Zimbabwe”.