The Government has justified recent university fee hikes as necessary to enable institutions of higher learning to provide quality education that is credible.
Members of Parliament had demanded a ministerial statement after university fees for both undergraduate and post-graduate programmes were increased by over 100 per cent.
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Amon Murwira issued a ministerial statement in the National Assembly on Tuesday on the fees increases. He said:
Maintaining 2021 tuition fees per semester would threaten the achievement of the sustainable development goal (SDG) 4.
In fact, it would result in education and training institutions cutting down on essential budget lines such as internet bandwidth, e-library subscriptions, workshop practice for engineering, practical sessions for life sciences, outdoor field trips and supervision of students on attachment would be totally removed. This would be the death of the credibility of our education system.
With regard to tertiary institutions, the fees structure that was agreed upon in 2020 has never changed, except for catering and practical fees that are determined by market forces.
However, the student fees and other income are generally inadequate to meet all other costs because we always have to moderate them.
This is because the income source and student fees are generally inadequate. To ensure institutions operate on a balanced budget, universities and colleges should receive more support or charge higher fees, but normally we ask for more support.