Centre news Reporter.
Students at the Great Zimbabwe University GZU) have lamented exorbitant accommodation fees hike announced by the authorities recently, saying the majority would not be able to stay in Campus hostels which now cost between US$ 200 to 400 per semester.
The students say the spike in accommodation fee comes at a time their parents are struggling to make ends meet as their salaries remain very low.
The accommodation fees hike does not include tuition fees which is yet to be announced, a situation that has left students quacking in fear.
Many students fear that they will resort to off campus accommodation where landlords might take advantage of their desperate situation.
“We are doomed, we just received as notice on our portals that the accommodation fees have been revised upwards. They are now too exorbitant for our struggling parents and guardians, it means some will face severe challenges,” said a student only identified as Pingo.
Some students especially in Mashava who used to opt for cheaper accommodation from the ghost mine town compound houses owned by former Shabanie-Mashava mine workers have been caught between a hard rock and surface, as the former employees are being evicted from company houses by the college.
In a notice by the acting Dean of Students, Mr. Simbo, local students should pay the money in US$ or RTGS equivalent at bank rate before check in date of August 28 for new students and September 4 for returning students.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), Masvingo Chapter chairperson, Calvin Muvheyi lambasted the University for hiking the fees without consulting them.
“This shows us that our government and university authorities are not concerned about the plight of students and their parents under these difficult economic conditions prevailing in the country. Running a University has become a business and they want to make money out of us, we urge the government to go back the old ways where university students would be paid whilst learning,” said Muvheyi.
GZU Director of Information, Anderson Chipatiso defended the hike saying it was above board and was done in agreement with all stakeholders including students’ representatives.
“The increase was done above board, everyone was consulted and we came to an agreement, the major reason for the increase is due to the rising costs of goods and services in the country and we are not spared as an institution of higher learning, “said Chipatiso.
The University cited sky rocking prices of goods and services as the main reason for increasing accommodation fees adding that the accommodation fees included meals.
However many students prefer to stay off campus where rentals are generally cheap but they are forced to overcrowd in one rooms as landlords charge per individuals.
Some students from between five and seven stay in a single room and landlords charge them individually to maximum profits per month.