Gender Gender

Luo selfless over exam fees reversal

CHILDRENS CORNER with PANIC CHILUFYA
“MY guardians were already struggling to pay my fees at college; and if the minister had not reversed the increase on examination fees, I would have been forced to withdraw because I was not going to afford the new amount,” explained Tina, a marketing student.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to realise that a huge number of students shared Tina’s sentiments. Most students have been struggling to pay for their education which in most cases is already beyond the reach of most Zambians.
The decision last week by Minister of Education Nkandu Luo to reverse the 100 percent increment of examination fees by the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Authority (TEVETA) was very welcome news.
In reversing the decision, Professor Luo was informed that TEVETA last increased examination fees in 2010 hence the decision for the 100 percent hike, a reason that the minister felt was not valid especially that students are already financially burdened.
The decision by TEVETA was certainly going to disadvantage many more students who are struggling to acquire education not only under TEVETA, but this is the practice in most institutions of higher learning. Going by the trend, education is no longer the right of every student but it has become a luxury available for only a select few.
If Prof Luo had not reversed this decision, it would have worked against one of the goals of government of providing affordable education to all; one of the drivers of economic development in any country. When the number of people who acquire academic qualifications increases; this is a catalyst for progress and prosperity through the increase of human capital.
Everyone is struggling to meet their financial obligations and students are not exception, in fact most of them have to go to great lengths to find the money needed at these institutions for them to ensure that they are eligible to write examinations.
It is hoped that next time TEVETA or indeed other institutions of higher learning choose to hike fees or examination fees, they will spare a thought for the struggling students. They should not increase fees for the sake of it but to look at the bigger picture; which is how many of their students will be disadvantaged by such decisions.
However, this is not to say that institutions should not increase fees, they have operation costs and other obligations that have to meet. Increments should be done in the spirit of give and take so that both parties benefit equally. After all without students, institutions of learning would have been redundant. Students and institutions depend on each other in many ways than one for their relevance in any society.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.For comments: pcmalawochilufya@yahoo.com



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