Some students at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) have taken the higher learning institution and its vice-chancellor Paul Mapfumo to court challenging the recent increase in tuition fees.
The university recently increased fees, with students expected to pay a minimum of US$509 for undergraduate fees per semester triggering protests at the institution which resulted in 19 students being arrested last week.
In an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court, Narshon Kohlo, Paidamoyo Mafusire and Ethel Museswa cited Mapfumo and the UZ as respondents.
The students, represented by Tendai Biti, are seeking an application for review to challenge the respondent’s decision to increase fees. Reads the application seen by NewsDay Zimbabwe:
Raising fees in some cases by a factor of 700% is grossly irrational and unreasonable. The current rate of inflation is 197%. Therefore, raising fees beyond the rate of inflation is simply unsustainable and grossly unreasonable and irrational.
The tuition charged and levied to students is, therefore, not the primary basis of the financing of the institution. The financing of the institution depends wholly on the government of Zimbabwe through the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
It is, therefore, our respectful contention that given the huge supplementary budget of over 100% allocated to the UZ which takes its budget from $3,3 billion to $7,9 billion, the massive increase of tuition fees was totally unnecessary therefore grossly unreasonable, and irrational.
They said the fee increase is only tuition and excludes accommodation, transport and food as well as services such as photocopying materials.
The students added that UZ did not consider that 90% of the students at the UZ come from underprivileged backgrounds as they are children of peasant subsistence farmers, vendors, schoolteachers, drivers, cross-border traders, and pastors.
The average salary of a teacher is $77 000.
The students contend that the decision is illegal.
However, the UZ has since announced new fee structures for the August to December 2022 Semester and urged learners to come up with payment plans or apply for loans.