By Johannes Chin’ombe
MASVINGO, November 24, 2015 – A number of students that had registered for courses with Masvingo Polytechnic have been forced to abandon their courses midstream following a directive by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology that rules them out of any examination with the college without a Mathematics pass at Ordinary level.
The development comes when the college last year decided to take in students without ordinary level Mathematics passes because of the few number of students that had applied to be enrolled for different courses.
This was reportedly on condition that such students would register for a bridging programme and sit for the O – level Mathematics examinations in November last year and have their papers in order before going for attachment next year which most were reluctant to do.
The affected students were studying tourism, horticulture, human resources management, purchasing, clothing and textiles though numbers were not immediately available except for 18 purchasing students who were at the school’s reception seeking explanation from the school authorities when Radio VOP arrived at the scene.
“We applied here without mathematics last year and they took us in saying that will do the subject while studying and now we have just been sent away, it’s not fair and we are very bitter about this sudden turn of events. We want our money back,” said one student who declined to be named.
“The whole drama started when lecturers came to class with registers which did not carry names of many other students amid having paid their full fees. As curiosity rose, rumor circulated amongst students that that those who had been left out from the register were not legible students and would be sent off because they had failed O – level mathematics,” said one student, Gift Domingo.
“It was from this pressure that lecturers started opening up that all those without an O – level mathematics pass should not waste their time and further warned that they should go home before being officially disappointed by the college authorities at examination time. When the rumor finally came to reality, the affected students were even barred from having their meals from the dining halls,” another student added on condition of anonymity.
“An estimated three quarters of students have since left the college after being told to go and write Mathematics only to resume their career studies if they pass. Some of the affected students are busy demanding to be refunded,” disclosed a school official only identified as Bere.
“We want to see the principal regarding our money because we were not allowed to register for examination. We have also been advised by some sympathizers to seek assistance from Legal Resource Foundation (LRF) to challenge the school since their decision to withdraw us from our studies can’t dramatically pitch up after being at the for the past one and half years,” challenged a bitter student, Emily Mukaro.
Parents who came to confirm with the school authorities upon the sad development that struck their children said their efforts to see the principal in search for explanations were fruitless.
“My child told me of the sad development last week but I thought it was an issue the school would quickly deal with. Today I had to come and seek answers for myself since my son had been bared to write examinations and my efforts to get an explanation from the principal have been fruitless since morning,” said one parent, Monica Kamakwa.
“What has pained me is the money we spend investing in our children through education. I have made it here quickly to try and get answers but the principal is said to be busy since morning. I think he is simply avoiding us because what he has done is unjustified. All I want is for them to give us a clear explanation of what will happen to our children so that we move on from there,” said another parent, Richard Masilo.
The college’s acting principal Evans Musara declined comment though he justified his action saying what the college did was simple implementation of government policies.
“I cannot comment on this issue because it is about policy implementation, I take orders from the top, if anyone has a problem he or she must see the permanent secretary for clarification. What I have done is implementation of government policies and those seeking refund can only be attended to by the ministry,” said Musara.
Meanwhile, government is reportedly on a move to limit the number of students being churned out of tertiary institutions since there has been no placement for them to be employed after school. This has left many graduates roaming the streets and some alternatively doing vending business for them to make a living.
The move by government to limit the number of graduates being produced by colleges per year has seen them announcing a possible cut in humanity subjects which usually accommodate the largest number of students at tertiary institutions.