Students of International Medical and Technological University yesterday marched to the Education and Vocational Training Ministry to air their grievances over fee payment terms. The students want the government to state the agreement reached in resolving their crisis including quoting and charging University fees in Tanzanian shillings and not in dollars.
IMTU Students Organization (IMTUSO) President Yared Birage Chacha said they want the government to give a statement on its stance for them to know the conditions agreed upon with the university administration. “Nothing has changed so far …about 600 students remain suspended from college for the third month and the fees are still being charged in dollars,” he said. He said that they are still required to pay a medical fee of 100 USD per student while they have health insurance cards which they use for medical services. “The claims that IMTU has resolved students crisis is not true,” said Chacha
He said the university was using informal means to communicate with parents and guardians regarding the students who were not at the university. Chacha said that they have presented their demand to the Minister of Education but had not received any response. Last week, IMTU Vice Chancellor Prof Joseph Shija said a special meeting between the university council and government officials under the chairmanship of Dr Kawambwa met on October 31 to resolve students’ crisis.
He said three main issues were agreed upon as a basis for the resolution of the crisis. It was agreed that all students not directly involved in the boycott should be invited to rejoin the university and register in accordance with the university council’s directives. He said those summoned for a disciplinary process would be given another chance for hearing sessions by a disciplinary body.
He urged the students to report to the university and continue registering and sit for examinations as per the amended almanac. Others who have been given a deadline until November 9 will be directed to the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor administration or dean of students for further advice. Regarding the students already registered and at the campus since the new academic year, which started on October 3, he said the council had approved the formation of an interim students’ organisation of seven members elected by an emergency general assembly held at the campus on October 26 to represent the interests of over 400 registered students.
On fees, he said it was agreed that the Vignan Educational Foundation (VEF) board of trustees, who are owners of the university, would reconsider the modalities of admitting Tanzanian and foreign students and their respective fee structure. The move is meant to establish a pattern that will be more favourable to Tanzanian students on fee payment in relation to that paid by foreign students in the next academic year. “We have a local representative of the VEF who participated fully in our meetings. He will present the issue before top management meetings in India,” he stated.
However the VC said it was very expensive to run a university whose major source of income was fees. “We have a lot of activities such as paying salaries, buying modern equipment, medical services and meeting students’ costs when attending clinical classes. All these need more money as prices have gone up,” he noted.
Clinical classes are conducted at Mirembe Hospital in Dodoma, Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) Muhimbili National Hospital, Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Temeke, Amana and Ilala hospitals – all located in Dar es Salaam. On the issue of options of transfer for students wishing to join other institutions, it was agreed that the TCU assist the process and the IMTU administration facilitate the provision of academic and other relevant information.
Prof Shija urged all returning students and those already at the campus to live and work in harmony. There are currently over 400 students who have re-registered and continuing with their studies at the university, while over 50 others at still suspended.