Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Corruption and misconduct at Universities

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I attended university during a period where going to school seemed like wasting one’s precious time and adding more strain on family’s financial budgets. This was the period of 2006-2010 where Zimbabwe went through a major economic downfall, the 2008 elections and the dollarisation of the currency – a very difficult period. It did appear much better for one to quit school and cross the border to a neighbouring country as they would be guaranteed of access to their needs and wants. It is during this period that corruption within the various systems in the university grew like it was growing in any other sector in the country. You could see how people would manipulate the system because of a certain commodity they held, which was in demand. You would be shocked to hear what a lecturer would do when promised a bag of maize. As the economy got better with goods and commodities available, corruption, like cancer, still existed.

Students in Kenya and Uganda have established an anonymous website, Not In My Country which seeks to expose acts of corruption within universities in these two countries. By acting as whistle blowers, students rate their lecturers’ performances and have an optional field to explain their ratings. These are crowd sourced to provide ratings. In South Africa, university students at Wits are using the university newspaper, Vuvuzela, to expose lecturers who engage in misconduct in their work through sexual harassment. Students all over have been using various media to expose corruption within their universities but these are only effective if the university’s authorities take up their responsibility by investigating matters reported. Systems run by students often fall short as university staff protect each other as investigations or follow ups on reported cases are not made.

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