The Sunday News
Mollet Ndebele, Sunday News Reporter
GRADUANDS at various universities are in a quandary over whether they will be able to graduate after most institutions announced exorbitant graduation fees.
Most universities hold their graduations between this month and next month but some graduands expressed concern over the fees demanded.
The National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo has pegged the graduation fees at $600 up from $85 charged last year and the money excludes gowns and food.
Lupane State University has pegged the graduation fee at $300 up from $100 excluding transport and food.
Although graduation ceremonies have already been conducted at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare and Chinhoyi University of Technology in Chinhoyi the institutions were charging $350 and $300 respectively.
A graduand at LSU, Mr Nqobile Dladla said the university should at least have included transport in the fee since a majority will face challenges getting to the campus in Lupane.
“Alternatively, the university should have held the graduation at a central place, for example in Bulawayo where transport wouldn’t have been a major issue,” said Mr Dladla.
However, LSU spokesperson Mr Zwelithini Dlamini said the increase was a necessity considering the current economic situation.
“The economic situation forced us to increase the graduation fees because the amount that we were charging before will not be enough for the things we need. The $300 that we are charging is also not enough, the school will have to chip in for the day to be success. The university uses the graduation fee to hire chairs, tents, PA system and many other things that is why it is a necessity,” said Mr Dlamini.
He added that the university cannot afford to provide transport and food like it used to do in the past.
“To rectify this problem, we asked students who want transport to liaise with the administration so that we talk to the service providers on their behalf for them to be ferried to LSU at a reasonable fare.
“We have also asked private caterers to set up stands during the day and sell their food stuffs so that people at least get food nearby,” said Mr Dlamini.
At Nust, management and the students representative body are now set to meet to agree on the figure after the graduands rejected the $600 which is more than what students at the institution are paying as fees for the whole semester.