The Zambia National Students Union (ZANASU) is disappointed by Mulungushi University’s decision to bar students from writing examinations on grounds of non-payment of full tuition fees.
The students’ body has called for mutual understanding in view of the turbulent times the nation is going through.
Reacting to reports that some students, including those in the final year of their study who had not settled the fees in full have been barred from writing their exams, ZANASU Vice president Chris Ndoi said it was unfortunate that the university management decided to take a draconian stance against the affected students.
He suggested that the university management must have allowed the students to sit for their examinations and later withhold their results.
“People must understand that as a nation we are going through very hard times. We are very disappointed at the development of students not being allowed to sit for their semester and final examinations because of not having paid the money in full. They must have been allowed to sit and then find other avenues including withholding of results,” he said in a media statement.
Mr. Ndoi said there was no way a student or their sponsors would wilfully refuse to pay the fees which they had agreed to be paying and the fact that they have defaulted is indicative that there are some challenges being faced.
He called on all learning institutions to exercise caution in the manner they were handling the issues of students’ payment because it was a very delicate one.
Mr Ndoi expressed worry that some affected students would feel demoralised as this was a big blow to their career ambitions.
Meanwhile, Mulungushi University Vice Chancellor Hellicy Ngambi and the corporate affairs officer James Pondo reiterated that students who do not meet the financial demands would not be allowed to sit for their on-going examinations.Speaking in separate interviews, Professor Ngambi and Mr. Pondo said the agreements were individually signed between the students and the university and that the university management has even been more flexible by demanding at least 75 percent instead of the initial 100 percent before sitting for examinations.
Professor Ngambi said those that would not be able to meet the financial obligation would have to come back and write the deferred examinations in February after meeting their financial obligations.
She said the fees helped the institution run effectively.
And Mr. Pondo said the university had been making frantic efforts to remind students of the outstanding fees but it was regrettable that after neglecting the reminders, they now wanted to put the blame on the institution.
He maintained that failure to pay the fees would compromise the quality of education the institution was mandated to provide.
The exact number of affected students has not been established but some students sources said that approximately 40 percent of the 1,700 student population had been affected while Mr. Pondo said about 80 percent had heeded the reminder and paid in full.