Friday, April 06, 2012

Government, CBU agree on 15% increase in tuition fees for 1st-year students

Government, CBU agree on 15% increase in tuition fees for 1st-year students
By Allan Mulenga
Fri 06 Apr. 2012, 13:53 CAT

THE government and Copperbelt University management have agreed on a 15 per cent increase in tuition fees for first-year students from the initial 25 per cent approved in 2008.

And the government is in the process of introducing the Student Loan Authority to cover the cost of students' education. Education minister Dr John Phiri yesterday said his ministry and CBU management agreed that the 25 per cent increase in first-year tuition fees be spread over two years - 15 per cent this year and 10 per cent next year.

"The ministry has noted that the fees for first year´s will disadvantage the already disadvantaged to enter Copperbelt University.

The Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education will source financing to bridge the budgetary gap which will be created at the Copperbelt University as a result of the reduction in the rate of increase of tuition fees," he said.

"…There have been concerns raised over this…These concerns have come from Copperbelt University Students and the Copperbelt community in general. The fees have reached to some K14,000,000 and K18,000,000 for Social Science and Natural Science programmes, respectively. This is far above what the majority of our people can afford."

The 15 per cent increase in fees this year means Social Science students will now pay K12.8 million instead of K14 million while Natural Science students will pay K16.9 million from the initial K18.4 million.

In 2013, another 10 per cent increment will be effected on first-year students.

There was public outcry over the proposed 25 per cent increase in tuition fees, with students warning that they would boycott classes if management went ahead to effect the increment.

But CBU management said the 25 per cent increment was approved in 2008 after consultation with the government as a solution to many financial problems the institution was facing.

And Dr Phiri said the ministry was working on a draft bill for the establishment of the Student Loan Authority which would be presented to Parliament for enactment into law.

"The ministry also recognises that the only solution to the funding of public universities is through a non-discriminatory organ which will manage a loans scheme for students. The Student Loan Authority will enable students who are admitted to higher education institutions to access loans to cover the cost of their education," said Dr Phiri.

"This will be part of the overall efforts that the ministry will be undertaking to ensure that our higher education system is positioned to respond to the development needs of our country, and to ensure that science, technology and innovation provide a basis for finding solutions to those issues which hinder our efforts towards social and economic development."

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