Students from the Blended Education College of Southern Africa (BESCA) in Bulawayo are up in arms with the college`s administration for hiking tuition fees.
BESCA is a college which offers Early Childhood Educator (ECD) and Primary teaching diplomas as well as other certificates.
Some of the students who spoke to CITE revealed they have been given a few days to pay their fees at a time when the country is on lockdown.
“We only received communication of the new fees structure through a WhatsApp group on May 12, where we were told by the college secretary to have paid by May 18,” said a source.
“Some of us, our guardians who are paying for us are affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, maybe this is a way of expelling us from the college. we are not even sure if it is registered with the Ministry of education or not. Every time we try to inquire about it from the College principal, we do not get any answers.”
The source added that the increase in tuition fees comes at a time when there has been no communication has been issued by the college concerning Teaching Practices (TP).
“Schools will be closed for this term so I think we were not supposed to pay fees since we are on lockdown and we do not know how we are going to do our TP as schools are still closed,” the source said.
BESCA quality education management officer Charles Moyo told CITE that their fees were initially pegges at ZWL$4 500 before it was reduced to ZLW$4300 since classes are mainly done online.
Moyo said students going for attachment will pay ZWL$3 100 and ZWL$400 for 35 gigabite of internet data per month.
The college principal Mathamsanqa Dube denied that the college had given the students a week to pay their outstanding fees.
“I don’t think that is true, I think it was said they arrange their payment not that they can be given a week, we cannot be that inhuman, we have been having those students for a year now and they have always arranged their payments,” said Dube.
Dube said the private teachers’ college, if registered with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
He added that the college is adopted online learning since its inception last year.
“Our students from day one have been always been online. Intake one started last year in May and now they are in their second year and from May last year they have been using their laptops and their phones, those are the two gadgets we use in class, so they have been online since last year even at college their lecturers everything is online,” he said.
“The current panic that is happening is about online teaching and schools does not affect us because this is what we have been doing since last year. I think this is just the natural panic of some students.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Ambassador Cain Mathema recently warned private schools of charging exorbitant prices for distance and online learning.