Mugabe scholarship hit by funding problems

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe will stop enrolling students under the Presidential Scholarship Fund at South African universities but at local universities due to a funding crisis.

The scheme’s administrators have admitted there is no money to pay for new students or meet the needs of the thousands already on the scheme.

Mugabe said fund executive director Chris Mushowe should begin signing deserving students with local universities.

“We should build a lot more schools and health facilities to make sure they are more accessible to our communities to ensure that every child is enabled education,” Mugabe said during the launch of the 23rd session of junior Parliament last Saturday.

“That has always been at the centre of our priorities.

“The presidential scholarship has today benefitted at least 20 000 students from vulnerable backgrounds.

“I heard vaChinamasa (Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa) saying there is no money anymore; we are saying let’s feed into our local universities.”

Mugabe also lamented that the majority of beneficiaries have chosen to work in foreign countries.

“Unfortunately, a lot (of them) stay in South Africa, what we did not do is impose a requirement that they work for the country for at least three years,” he said ruefully.

Last year, students enrolled at the University of KwaZulu Natal, University of Johannesburg, Wits University, Fort Hare and Monash were told not to return if fees were not paid upfront.

Despite Mugabe’s plans, Mushowe’s office recently called for applications for placements with foreign universities in the press.

He was unreachable for further comment yesterday.

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