ZANASU President Joseph Busenga has decribed the University of Zambia (UNZA)’s decision to hike accomodation and tuition fees for the 2017/18 academic year by over 100 percent as theft.

Speaking to News Diggers in an interview today, Busenga said it was illegal for the institution to hike fees for all programmes across the board by more than 100 per cent.

“As [Zambia National Students Union] ZANASU, we don’t welcome increments that go up to 100 per cent like what the University of Zambia has done because that becomes a challenge to parents. Even before the increments, I think we have all seen a lot of students being affected [by fees being charged at UNZA]. Then in the recent past, over 8,000 students could not pay their tuition fees and those have not graduated. So when you increase tuition fees by K5,000, what is it that you are communicating out there?” Busenge wondered.

“You are simply telling the nation that you don’t want people to get educated. Moreover, increments should not affect those who are already pursuing their programmes. Unless if it is an increment that is affecting only those who are about to start. Then a minimal increment would be welcome because it will be something that the reporting students can prepare for before starting. They can decide whether to go to UNZA of not. But increasing across the board by 100 per cent like that is unfair to the returning students.”

He said it was unfair that the university was trying to milk the students after struggling to get its grants from government.

“The ministry of education and the government at large has failed to direct investment in terms of education because if proper resources were channelled into the education sector, I think such increments would not be there. This is a third world economy where most of the parents and other citizens of Zambia are into informal employment and the economy itself is not doing well. So when you increase fees where do you expect the students and their parents to get the money from? Government must move in so that the decision by management at the University is reviewed. I think it should be nullified because it is theft to make such an increments. I would simply call it theft because there is no reason for an increase of [over] 100 per cent when the University of Zambia is always asking for grants from government,” said Busenge.

“I think this time around Edgar Chagwa Lungu, His Excellency the President of Zambia must look into these issues himself. We can’t even appeal to the ministry of higher education because this is not the first time that such calamitous decisions are being made at the University of Zambia.