The University of Zambia has deregistered 200 students for failing to pay their fees, the country's Deputy Education Minister Clement Sinyinda told parliament. He said the students had been "automatically deregistered" and barred from writing examinations because of non-payment for the first semester, despite being allowed to pay in instalments.
The minister said the deregistration was above board: "Historically, the University of Zambia has faced cash flow problems brought about by the perpetual failure by students to honour their obligations with regard to the payment of fees in instalments."
Students who are deregistered for non-payment of first instalments - that is, 50% of tuition fees plus arrears and other fees - are automatically excluded from writing examinations and are not allowed to register for further study. No payments are accepted beyond the first instalment deadline, a week after the mid-term break.
Meanwhile, Zambia's parliamentary committee on science and technology has criticised the conversion of some colleges into universities, saying they are ill-equipped and lack staff, as well as lacking collaboration between the education and labour and industry ministries to ensure linkages between training and industry.
In a report tabled in parliament on 11 November, the committee described the conversion of a secondary school into the Copperbelt College of Education and subsequently into a university as "ill-conceived and premature as there has been no change in infrastructure nor improvement in facilities from the time the college was a secondary school".
The report also said: "As the case is with the Copperbelt College of Education, there is no legal framework to back the conversion of Nkrumah College of Education into a university college".
The committee was concerned about the colleges enrolling students "in the absence of qualified lecturers and facilities, thereby running the risk of producing ill-qualified graduates."
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