State universities face collapse

The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government is planning to completely withdraw financial support to state universities, raising fears this could lead to the collapse of higher learning institutions, reports The Zimbabwean.

Government support to state universities includes sponsoring key projects and expansion, salaries, equipment, acquisition of properties and providing student grants and loans. University sources said they had been given six months’ notice before they start fending for themselves. “Minister [Oppah] Muchinguri recently summoned all state university vice-chancellors and informed them of government’s plan to wean universities off all state support. There is now uncertainty about the future of these universities because that could signal their collapse,” said a University of Zimbabwe informant.

President Robert Mugabe recently accused the institutions of diverting financial support from government to fund personal interests. The government is struggling to pay university teaching and non-teaching staff salaries, which for many months have been arriving late. Recently, staff at most state universities briefly withdrew their services over delayed payment of salaries. They only resumed work after government paid them. Pay days keep shifting for the rest of the civil service, except the army and central intelligence services, as treasury is struggling to raise money.
Full report on The Zimbabwean site