Government has described as harsh the K1,500 penalty fee prescribed by t h e C o p p e r b e l t University (CBU) to students to cover costs of repairs to property damaged during riots early this year. Minister of Higher Education Brian Mushimba says management at CBU should revise the charge because the three months closure of the higher learning institution was enough punishment. Dr Mushimba said in an interview yesterday that management should
reduce the fee to an amount which will be affordable to every student. “I sat with the management at the university and we looked at the property that was damaged and what the students have been ordered to pay is much higher than what we agreed upon,” Dr Mushimba said. He said the three months closure of the university was punishment enough and that students should at least be ordered to pay something less than what they have been subjected to.
Dr Mushimba said 80 percent of the students did not participate in the riot, adding that it is only reasonable that the penalty fee is revised. He said when the university was re-opened, it was on the basis that students were remorseful and had repented of their riotous behaviour. Dr Mushimba said Government understands that students damaged private property, which led to its closure.
He said students have to bear the consequence of their riotous behaviour but that the K1,500 management is asking for is much higher than what was expected. The minister advised students from higher learning institutions to stop engaging in riotous activities to avoid such implications. In April this year, students at CBU ran amok and destroyed property to stop management from conducting examinations after they failed their continuous assessments. This prompted Government to close the institution indefinitely until security measures at the institutions were enhanced.