By Bennie Mundando
SWALLOW your pride and stop being adamant by insisting that UNZA students who have not paid tuition fees will not write exams because your action will steer Zambia into education oblivion, the Gallant Youth of Zambia (GYZ) has told Ministry of Higher Education, Nkandu Luo.
Commenting on the 8,000 UNZA students who are bound to miss exams for failure to pay tuition fees, GYZ executive director Henry Mulenga yesterday said arrogance on both the university authorities and Higher Education minister Prof. Luo had huge consequences which should not be underestimated.
Mr. Mulenga charged that being a beneficiary of the free education system at the same institution, the country expected Prof. Luo to face the challenge with a sober mind and a motherly attitude.
He said barring 8,000 students from sitting for their exams amounted to economic sabotage as some of the students who were set to be offloaded on the job market would either be delayed or completely have no other chance.
He said Government must ensure that all the affected students write their exams and then ask the university to hold onto their results rather than preventing them from sitting for their exams on account of non-payment of tuition fees.
“Adamancy on the party of the ministry and the university over this issue is retrogressive and a show of lack of seriousness on the two institutions because the students have not refused to pay but they do not just have the money to pay at once.
The students must be allowed to write exams and if the university wishes, it can withhold the results when they are out until the outstanding amounts are paid.
“It is common knowledge that most students at UNZA who are on a 100 percent bursary scheme are those from well-to-do families which have connections with government officials and other relevant authorities while the majority have to foot their bills,
“But the fact that they have outstanding payments is testimony of that rot and preventing them from writing exams is the worst decision ever. Prof. Luo must swallow her pride and do what is right,” Mr. Mulenga said.
He challenged Prof. Luo to show leadership by interceding for the affected students rather than playing to the gallery by playing the accomplice to university authorities because the decision was not in the best interest of the country.
“Prof. Luo herself was a product of free education at the same institution and it would be hypocritical of her to play hide and seek over this matter by disadvantaging students who are desperate to attain their professional pursuits.
This is not time to simply talk and make unnecessary pronouncements which do not help the country,
“Visionary leaders study issues before making critical decisions and we believe this issue did not receive the best attention from the ministry but an impromptu decision which will sabotage the education sector if tolerated.
This decision must be reversed and students must be allowed to write their exams without any interference,” he said.