FULL TEXT: UZ MBA Students Question Education Minister’s Sincerity After Exorbitant Fee Hikes

UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE MBA STUDENTS PETITION

29.01.2020

TO: THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE, PROF P MAPFUMO.

THE DEAN OF STUDENTS UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE DR MADAMBI.

THE REGISTRAR, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE, DR MUTONGORENI.

THE DEPUTY REGISTRAR, ACADEMIC DR MAKUNIKE.

THE BURSAR, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE.

THE DEAN OF COMMERCE, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE.

THE DIRECTOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE.

THE STUDENTS REP COMMITTEE, UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE.

PETITION AGAINST EXORBITANT, UNREASONABLE AND

UNJUSTIFIED HIKING OF MBA FEES BY THE UNIVERSITY.

His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe and the Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Honourable Minister, Honourable Permanent Secretary, The Vice-Chancellor, The Registrar, The Bursar, the Deans, The Director Graduate School of Management and our own Students Representative Committee!

Barely two weeks ago, Honourable Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation and Technology Development while speaking on the radio indicated to the whole nation that the Tuition fees for all Universities were to be pegged at a maximum of ZWL$5 000.00.

A question was posed by one of the concerned listeners as to whether this pegged fee of ZWL$5 000.00 applied to Post-Graduate Programs. The Hon Minister responded that the pegged fee was applicable across all levels and all programs.

The Minister went on to denounce what he called “Flowering of Degree Programs to charge exorbitant fees”.

By “flowering of degree programs” he was referring to the phrases “block release” and “weekend classes”, the phrases popularly used to refer to most Post-Graduate Programs including the Masters in Business Administration offered by the University of Zimbabwe.

This week, we the MBA Students of the University of Zimbabwe were not only stunned but traumatised to receive communications from the University of Zimbabwe Graduate School of Management indicating that our fees for the January/February 2020 semester are now pegged at ZWL$18 081.00. A lot of questions arise, one of them being whether or not the Honourable Minister was not honest with the whole nation on radio.

That being the case, we the MBA Students under the University Of Zimbabwe Graduate School Of Management do hereby petition to your esteemed offices to intervene and consider the predicament and academic quandary we are in.

We vehemently believe that the sum of ZWL$18 081.00 is not only exorbitant but is unjustified and unreasonable in the circumstances. This is particularly so if one is to pay particular regard to the following:

1. Other State Universities are charging fees way below the fee charged by the University of Zimbabwe. Without exhausting, your attention is brought to the following specifics:
a. National University of Science and Technology (NUST) is charging the maximum of ZWL$9 000 for on-campus MBA and other postgrad programmes.
b. Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) is charging the sum of ZWL$12 113.00 for on-campus programs while the fees for off-campus programs is ZWL$14 801.00.
c. Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) is charging the sum of ZWL$6 395.00 for Post-Graduate Degree Programs analogous to the University of Zimbabwe MBA Program.

At the end of the day, one asks a question – what is so special about the UZ
MBA Degree?

2. The University of Zimbabwe is already established and surely it cannot charge fees that are more than those charged by developing Universities that still require infrastructure.

3. The UZ MBA Program is absolutely an “on-campus program”. Thus the University has no burden of having to make arrangements to cater for off-campus programs. In any event, it is us the students who have to bear the burden of travelling from all over the country every weekend to attend lectures in Harare. So why punishing students who are already suffering?

4. We also wish to draw your attention to the following which is a comparison of fees paid at the University of Zimbabwe for other Postgraduate programs across all faculties. This is presented in the form of a table.

PROGRAM       Nature             Tuition       Mandatory       Total              Difference from MBA
MBA                 Part-time         16 201.00    1 880.00              18 081.00       __________
Arts                   Full/part-time  5 000.00     1 880.00             6 880.00        11 201.00
Agriculture        Full/part-time  6 000.00     2 480.00             8 480.00         9 601.00
Commerce        Full/part-time   5 000.00    1 880.00             6 880.00         11 201.00
Education          Full/part-time  5 000.00     1 880.00             6 880.00         11 201.00

Science              Full/part-time   6 000.00     2 180.00             8 180.00          9 901.00
Social studies     Full/part-time  5 000.00     1 880.00              6 880.00          11 201.00
Health sciences  Full time         7 000.00     2 480.00              9 480.00          8 601.00
MSc Tourism       Full/part-time  5 000.00     2 380.00              7 380.00          10 701.00
GDE                    Full/ part-time  5 000.00     2 880.00             7 880.00           10 201.00
Engineering        Full/ part-time  7 000.00     2 180.00             9 180.00           8 901.00
Vet science         Full/ part-time  7 000.00     2 180.00             9 180.00           8 901.00

5. A close look at the above table shows a huge difference between the MBA fees and fees for other postgraduate programs. What is also surprising is that the fees for MBA part-time program are more than the fees for full-time programs.

6. In light of the above, we the MBA students do hereby propose our fees to be any figure between ZWL$8 000.00 and ZWL$10 000. We make this proposal based on the surveys that we have carried on the average earnings of the students as well as the current austerity measures.

7. Also of much concern is the short notice period which was given to us as students. We received communications from the GSM only on the 28th of January 2020 indicating of the exorbitant fees hikes and also to the effect that the deadline was 31 January 2020.

8. It is our strong belief that the fees of ZWL$18 081.00 pegged by the University of Zimbabwe frustrate the students and are not in any way taking into account the economic situation in the country.

9. Just to illustrate, let us give the scenario of a civil servant. Most of the students
are civil servants rely on the government.

Their situation is worsened by the Public Service Regulations Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000, more specifically Act of Misconduct Number 18 which renders it an act of misconduct for a civil servant to engage in any other employment or service for remuneration without the consent of the Commission.

On average a civil servant is getting a gross salary of ZWL$2 000.00. It, therefore, means that one will require 9 months to pay their fees. What of their upkeep, their family upkeep, family responsibilities and all the incidentals?

10. We believe that these exorbitant fees charged for the MBA at the University of Zimbabwe defies logic and is tantamount to turn students not only into vagabonds but also into irresponsible parents. Remember we are parents with families to take care of.

11. We are more than 500 students studying for the Masters in Business Administration Degree at the University of Zimbabwe. Deliberations so far have shown that it is highly likely that most of the students will defer their studies. As of 1 February 2019, most students have not paid even a single cent.

It’s not because we don’t want to pay but we don’t have the means.

12. At the end of the day, who is going to be blamed? It is the government, the ministry for failure to regulate such an act of academic sabotage.

13. We strongly believe that the solutions to this problem are to ensure that the University of Zimbabwe charges reasonable fees that take into account the economic hardships and challenges. It should also determine its fees by the current trend at other state universities.

14. There is no justification why the University of Zimbabwe should be allowed to charge fees way above what is being charged by other State Universities.

CONCLUSION

15. We appeal to your esteemed offices, conscience and sense of right to help us as the MBA Students of the University of Zimbabwe, as students, employees and as the future of this beloved country and above all as loyal citizens who deserve your protection.

16. We demand as we hereby do, a complete reversal of the unreasonable and unjustifiable fees hike which is intended at fundraising.
Why only target MBA students? What about other students who are also part-time are studying for Post-Graduation programs at the University.

17. We wish to indicate now that we are not against upward review of our fees but we are totally against ‘unjustified, exorbitant and unreasonable hiking of fees’. The
The University of Zimbabwe is the first and mother of all state universities. It should set a good precedent. Why are we charged fees way above the fees charged by other state universities?

18. We wish to advise and inform you that we the MBA students will come to the university on 1 February in the morning but we will not attend lectures until our petition is positively addressed.

19. This is our Country, our University and we should not be academically sabotaged.

We look forward to your urgent intervention.

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