LECTURERS at State-owned tertiary institutions have said they are doing a national service by teaching adult learners and have threatened to dump block release classes if they are not paid ZWL$300 an hour.
Association of University Teachers president Dr Gwatirera Javangwe said lecturers deserved to be “handsomely” rewarded for teaching non-conventional classes.
“Government has to rethink on the exact model for block classes. It creates great flexibility to adult learners, who will be unfortunately disadvantaged. They spend most of their time at work places, while at the same time they want to enhance their education,” said Dr Javangwe.
“Lecturers are doing a national service by teaching adult learners, hence it’s extra work. They are not keen to teach for free and will dump block classes.”
Great Zimbabwe University director of information Mr Anderson Chipatiso said his university had increased tuition fees for block release students from $1 300 to between $9 600 and $15 000, depending on the degree level.
He argued that fees for block release and cohort programmes were not governed by the Government, hence the university had power to review them at any time without seeking approval.
The fees increase, he added, was meant to facilitate the payment of allowances to lecturers and provide for essential services so learners can study.
Midlands State University has told some of its returning students of a proposed new fees structure for the semester beginning next month.
Fees for undergraduate degrees are ranging from $9 000 to $12 500 a semester, while those entering masters degree programmes have been advised that they might pay between $12 750 and $16 500 a semester.
Doctoral students at the institution might have to fork out $51 000 a year.
Harare Polytechnic principal Engineer Tafadzwa Mudondo said he was waiting for his parent ministry to set his fees and could not tell students what they would be paying until the ministry finished its calculations.
“Our fees structure is regulated by the Government. We have students who are at certificate, diploma and higher national diploma levels, they have different fees structures. We are waiting for the ministry to give us direction,’’ said Eng Mudondo.
However, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said yesterday that all State university fees must have a cap of ZWL$5,000, while private university fees will be determined by market forces.
“The fees increases should be to ensure institutions remain operational and according to our calculations this should not exceed $5 000 at state universities, while privately-owned institutions will be regulated by the market,” Prof Murwira said.
On block release students, Minister Murwira said their fees structure should be equivalent to that of other students.
“Universities should not be a cash cow for lecturers. We have heard reports of lecturers being paid allowances from students’ fees. We will not tolerate such a scenario in the education system.
“Lecturers are never funded from student fees. Student fees are for the operational costs of colleges and universities. Lecturers are paid by central Government,” he argued.