A group of concerned students from higher learning institutions is lobbying for a review of tuition fees for public and private universities.
Secretary of the group Charles Dokera said many students are being deprived of their right to education due to financial problems.
“We have seen how students are suffering in public and private institutions, especially the needy but deserving students. The gap between the poor and the rich is very wide. We believe it is the responsibility of the government to put some policies to enable all students access education including financial stability,” he said.
Dokera added that despite the government providing loans through the Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board, only few can access the loans due to inadequate funding.
“The board has always been underfunded and it cannot fully support the students from both private and public institutions. The Loans Board most of the times can only sponsor a student for only one semester,” he said.
Dokera said they are scheduled to meet Ministry of Education authorities on the matter on August 28.
Ministry of Education Spokesperson Chikondi Chimala said he was in a meeting while the Secretary for the Ministry was yet to respond to the matter by the time we went to press.
Civil Society Education Coalition Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said the government should consider revising the tuition fee especially for online learning due to the impact of Covid-19.
“The basis for the reduction is that the overall costs when the students are in college and out of college are not the same and for universities and colleges to maintain the tuition fees will be totally wrong and irresponsible for the part of the government.
“Additionally, in the face of Covid-19, everyone is economically affected. With online learning, once the fee is reduced parents will be able to buy data bundles with the remaining funds,” he said.
The students’ demands come at a time the Ministry of Education allowed universities to provide e-learning and the recent announcement by President Lazarus Chakwera on the possibility of reopening schools early next month.