Home » Education » State Promises to Address Scholarship Students’ Plight

Government will assess the living conditions of returning students under the Presidential Scholarship Scheme, amid unconfirmed media reports that beneficiaries are not well catered for.

There are media reports that beneficiaries are stranded in South Africa and are barred from lectures and residential halls.

Addressing journalists at the launch of the Harare Cohort of PhD programme, director of Presidential scholarships and Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Chris Mushohwe said Government deliberately stopped enrolling new students for the past two years to clear debts with South African universities.

“Next week we are leaving for Kwazulu-Natal where we have students,” he said. “We want to assess and renew the agreements with the landlords on the state of living conditions.

“There is nothing like torrid conditions. Let people prove by giving me one student who will come and say I was sleeping in a tunnel and not in a hostel.

“People must salute the President as he has sent about 30 000 disaantaged students (to university) from 1995 when the programme started and who have graduated.

“The Presidential scheme owes all the institutions only R10 million. I negotiated with the universities where we had not paid up and agreed that all students are looked after before we pay all the outstanding fees.”

Minister Mushowe said they had stopped enrolments for the past two years because former Finance Minister Tendai Biti had publicly denounced the scholarship scheme.

“We deliberately did not send new students for the past two years because we first wanted to clear all the money we owed and did not want students to go there and suffer,” he said.

“Only the level of comfort changed for the intake of the returning students. On the budget allocation in 2010, Mr Tendai Biti allocated US$3 million, in 2011 US$2 million and in 2012 US$1 million which was not enough for the 15 universities. We had to be bailed out by well-wishers.”

The dean of education at the University of KZN, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, said the launch of the Harare Cohort would see more than 100 degree-holders who want PhDs benefiting by studying locally.

“Zimbabweans in the past travelled to South Africa to obtain their PhDs at Kwazulu Natal for three years, but this programme is structured in such a way that the people will be studying in the country with only the instruction of a supervisor,” he said.

Source : The Herald

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