For those that have been wondering about the causes of the disturbances at Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), we have some information.
At learning institutions, there are always issues brewing that only await a spark to turn into a full-blown rebellion of some sort.
And this has been the situation at HIT. Long-standing grievances that were just swept under the carpet, the rage of students gradually gaining momentum, waiting for one perfect moment to vent it all out.
There were some petty issues, like the “force-introduction” of Kwese TV instead of the much-preferred DStv. But well, something more really.
Speaking to the SRC President Savious Machuwaire, we got to learn of something insightful into the situation there.
For final year projects, students are already into the second semester without the necessary components and chemicals, for which they paid as part of their tuition. The administration would not entertain such grievances, and students had to use their own money to undertake these projects.
There has been a need for a bus at the school for a long time. Every academic year the students pay $50 as part of the endeavours to buy a new bus. But up to now, nothing has been delivered. The excuse has been lack of foreign currency and an increase in the prices of buses. The students allege that these excuses are not premised on any solid defence since the administration is buying expensive cars for the executives and other officials.
Then we get to the issue of internet access. WiFi is turning into a basic right. Well, it is actually. Where the students wish for speeds like 100 mb/second, one would consider themselves lucky for getting 100 kb/second. Intermittent supplies too of an unreliable internet connection are a bone of contention.
It is alleged students in a certain hostel were told to pay for their own study lamps. Also, the guys say they get one ID from first year, but are made to pay for that every academic year. And oh, it costs up to $40 to replace a lost ID. Ouch!
The Vice-Chancellor is refusing to address the students, and well, that’s fuelling the ire of the already enraged students.
Bit messy really.
But Saviour Machuwaire expressed hope that the admin would handle their issues in the shortest time possible, and that the good thing is that no heavy-handed tactics were employed in dealing with the strike.
That’s a positive response, at least.
So, basically, this is the situation at HIT, as from the perspective of students, the ones airing their grievances.