University of Zambia Vice Chancellor professor Luke Mumba says poor students must sort out their scholarship problems before going to university because the institution needs money to pay salaries.
In an interview with News Diggers! Professor Mumba said students must at least pay a minimum 37.5 per cent of the total tuition fee to sit for their exams, saying the university was faced with a huge financial challenge.
He disclosed that over 8000 students have not yet paid fees but have continued attending lectures and accessing the university facilities like accommodation, free internet and library services.
When asked why the university was not considering the plight of students who come from poor families and could not afford to raise the required tuition fee before exam time, Professor Mumba said “poor students should settle sponsorship problems first”.
“Government is giving us for the GRZ sponsored students, it is giving us the grant which is K13 million to make it K24 million. To run this place we need K38 million every month to pay salaries and running costs. So we have to find the other K14 million. Our budget is run in such a way that students must pay. So it’s not a question of not being pro-poor, it’s a question of reality,” said Professor Mumba.
“Even in primary school or kindergarten, people don’t just go because they are poor and say let me attend, no! It doesn’t happen like that. Those who are poor have to come to university through a scholarship or someone supporting them, if they are not able to do that, unfortunately they cannot attend university because it has to be paid for.”
On Tuesday last week, students at the University of Zambia burnt tires at the protesting arena known as ‘Monk Square’ and chanted slogans outside the office of the vice-chancellor in protest against management’s decision to prevent them from writing mid-year exams for non-payment of tuition fees.
The students further denounced their UNZASU President Adrian Matole whom they accused of siding with management and government whenever students were complaining about issues affecting them.
The angry students vowed to continue with the protest if management does not rescind its decision but were calmed down by some union leaders who assured them that they would be allowed to sit for exams.
The situation on campus is currently calm, as affected students believed that management would show leniency on them.