ZIMDEF fails to pay exam fees for STEM students

At least 5 000 Advanced Level students funded by the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry through the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) risk failing to sit for their examinations amid claims that the government has failed to pay for their exam fees.

By XOLISANI NCUBE

The students, who are specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) a government programme meant to inspire the study of sciences, according to Senator Misheck Marava (MDC-T) could miss out on the deadline to pay for their November exams set for this week.

“My question is directed to the Primary and Secondary Education minister (Lazarus Dokora). Minister, the government is not meeting its obligations on some Stem-funded students. We have learnt recently that their tuition and exam fees have not been paid and parents are running around trying to meet the deadlines. What are you doing to try and help?” Marava asked.

Dokora, who could not provide an answer to the question, said his ministry was just a beneficiary of funding from the government and he was unaware if Zimdef had failed to pay the tuition fees.

“As with respect to funding, my ministry is a beneficiary of those that have the money. The Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development ministry is funding some of my students, so the question should rightly be directed to them,” Dokora said, indicating that Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo was better placed to answer the question.

When asked about the fate of the students, Dokora said: “I did not stand up to confirm government failure. I said I am a beneficiary and, therefore, the question ought to be directed to the ministry that is providing the funding, just as I am a beneficiary of government funding and so on.”

He said his ministry would not shift deadlines even if Zimdef was not to pay in time, as doing so would jeopardise already laid-down process.

“I work with deadlines because we have to prepare examination systems to run in accordance within a timeframe,” he said. The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry through Zimdef has availed funding of over $10
million to Advanced Level students in a bid to promote the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.