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NUST Students  Barred From Exams Over Unpaid Fees

A wave of discontent has swept through the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo as several students claim they were denied entry to write their examinations due to unpaid fees. This development has raised concerns among affected students, who now face the possibility of repeating the semester if they fail to resolve the fee issue with the institution.

The exams, which commenced on Monday, saw a number of students unable to sit for their papers on Tuesday after being barred from entering the examination halls. Those affected voiced their frustrations, stating that they were informed last week about the requirement to pay 50 percent of their fees in order to register and participate in the examinations.

However, many students cited the challenging economic situation as the reason for their inability to meet the fee payment deadline. They expressed dismay at being excluded from the exams, emphasizing that they had been diligently attending classes and preparing for their assessments.

The situation has sparked discussions among students and stakeholders about the financial challenges faced by tertiary education institutions and the impact on students’ academic progress. Some students have called for more flexible payment arrangements or financial assistance to ensure that all eligible students can participate in examinations without facing financial barriers.

NUST authorities have not publicly commented on the issue, leading to heightened uncertainty among affected students regarding the way forward and potential consequences for their academic standing. As tensions simmer, students are hoping for a swift resolution that considers their financial constraints while maintaining academic standards.

“A majority of students were denied access to the exam halls as they did not register for the semester, after failing to raise the required 50 percent of the fees,” said one of the students.

According to NUST sources, charging half of the money up front is a departure from the former policy, which allowed students to write exams without paying fees and then withheld the results until they paid.

“Fees are about US$600 and the lowest that students can pay is US$350 or half to enable them to register and write their exams. Previously students were able to write their exams without paying their fees then have their results withheld giving them enough time to raise the fees during the semester break,” said a NUST insider who added that the Bursar told lecturers that the institution was not running a charity.

“The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for ‘Research and Academic Affairs’, Professor Yogi Naik also tried to intervene so that the students could write the exams.”

When questioned for a response, Thabani Mpofu, the Director of Communications and Marketing at NUST, indicated that he had no knowledge of any students being denied entry to write exams.

“Only registered students wrote their exams.  I am not sure what you’re talking about.  I am at campus right now, as far as I am concerned the students are writing exams. I am not aware of that,” Mpofu said.

“What I know is for students to write exams they have to be registered unless you are telling me there is evidence that students who are not writing or the so-called students who are not writing have not paid fees.”

Mpofu refuted the claim that students missed their exams, stating that he lacked the relevant statistics to support such a statement.

“I haven’t heard of these statistics, I haven’t seen them. We don’t use rumours, for official communication check on the website platform, the students portal, that’s where the official information is because rumours go all over…” said the director of communications.

The impacted students voiced their hope that the NUST Student Representative Council (SRC) would negotiate with the university for a two to three-week extension on fee payments, allowing them to complete their exams.

“We hope the SRC can successfully intervene because this is a double loss on the institution’s side which has to plan for supplementary exams. Whether students write today or tomorrow, the process will be time consuming as NUST will have to print out more papers. The SRC has to negotiate with the school for supplementary exams,” said a student.

Another student added: “this will affect the university’s calendar, while NUST will have to invigilate the students who haven’t written. It is also a waste of material to print out new exam papers for students who haven’t paid.”



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