The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Zimbabwe has described the recent fee hike by local universities as elitist and colonial, as it promoted inequalities and restricted access to basic education.
This week, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) raised tuition fees from ZWL$50 000 to between ZWL$300 000 and ZWL$500 000 for undergraduate students, while some Master’s degree learners will now pay ZWL$1 million.
The hike prompted protests from students who demonstrated that the current fee structure would exclude marginalised and vulnerable students, who form the majority of the enrolment at universities.
Police arrested 16 UZ students and they were expected to appear in court on Wednesday.
EFF Zimbabwe concurs the fees hike promoted education inequality, which was seen in the colonial era and criticised the university for failing to consult stakeholders.
“The triumph over colonisation is futile without guaranteed access to free decolonised quality and affordable education. No human freedom is sustainable without quality and affordable education,” said EFF Zimbabwe leader, Innocent Ndibali who is based in the United Kingdom.
Ndibali argued that the tuition increment was entrenching inequalities in society, as a minority of students and those who were politically connected would have access.
“As a pan–African revolutionary party, we believe in fairness and equal distribution of resources. If we, as a country, allow these fees to sail through, it means only children of the few elitist Zimbabweans will be able to access university education, which is wrong,” he said.
The EFF president claimed his party will engage the responsible authorities to come up with a way to review the fees.
“EFF Zimbabwe expresses its solidarity with all students across Zimbabwe universities in their fight against fee increments. This demand is long overdue particularly in a country with high unemployment,” he said.
“We are already engaging various stakeholders to review these unreasonable fees. The EFF government will make university education accessible and affordable to all those who need it.”