Home » Education » Latest – University of Zimbabwe Loses Diploma Case

A class of 40 University of Zimbabwe former students who graduated with post-graduate Diploma in Law (Conciliation and Arbitration) in 2011 will now get their certificates after the High Court ruled that the students deserved the qualification.

Justice Joseph Mafusire nullified the university’s decision to downgrade the qualification to a mere law diploma and ordered the institution to award the 2011 group with post-graduate diploma certificates.

Post-graduate diploma is a higher qualification that requires one to first possess a degree before enrolling for the programme while a diploma could be obtained by someone who holds five Ordinary level subjects.

Despite possessing first degrees and having used the post-graduate study material and examination question papers UZ wanted to award the students with mere diplomas.

The operative part of Justice Mafusire’s judgment reads:

“It is ordered that the diplomas issued to the applicants be and are hereby declared to be Post-Graduate Diplomas in Law (Conciliation and Arbitration).

“The respondent (UZ) be and is hereby ordered to issue the applicants with the diplomas referred above.

“The respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay the costs of suit,” ruled Justice Mafusire.

It was the court’s finding that the decision to downgrade the qualification was unreasonable.

“I considered that the respondent’s decision to switch, in midstream, and in the manner it did, the designation of the course from post-graduate diploma to a mere diploma, was grossly unreasonable.

“That is to say, the decision was so grossly unreasonable as to be irrational and outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the issue to be decided would have arrived at it,” he said.

It was UZ’s argument that when the course was aertised, it was labeled as a mere law diploma and not a post-graduate course.

But Justice Mafusire questioned the qualifications for the course which required a first degree.

“Is a university course that requires as an entry qualification a first degree not a post-graduate course?”

Acceptance letters for the students were headlined:

“Admission in the year 2011 to the post-graduate Diploma in Law-Conciliation and Arbitration… ..”

On the student enrolment form, according to the judge, the programme code was “PDL” which means Post-Graduate Diploma in Law.

Result slips for the first semester had the following heading:

“Examination Results for 2011 Semester 1 PDL Post Graduate Diploma in Law (Conciliation and Arbitration)”

For the second semester results, the programme name was still the same but UZ insisted that the course was a mere law diploma.

Lecturers presented the students with the course outlines and objectives which were inscribed “Post-Graduate Diploma in Law”.

All the examination question papers had been marked “Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (Conciliation and Arbitration) and they graduated with the understanding and all paperwork showing they were post-graduates.

After graduation, the group was issued with transcripts showing they had completed a post-graduate course.

Trouble started when the group members went to collect their diplomas.

They were served with letters indicating that there had been an error on the title of the programme and the document sought to downgrade the course to a mere diploma.

That prompted six members of the 2011 class to approach the course challenging the university’s decision.

The six-Kenneth Mugumbate, Gohodzi Gohodzi, Richard Masinire, Fungisai Mateku, Tinashe Mlambo and Rinashe Nyamuziwa-mounted the application on behalf of the whole class

Source : The Herald