Zimbabwe: Harare Polytechnic Turns Away Unvaccinated Students

(File photo).
15 September 2021

HUNDREDS of students at Harare Polytechnic College were left stranded after authorities at the institution barred them from entering its premises for failing to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards.

Students who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday strongly castigated the college's principal Tafadzwa Mudondo for the decision.

They said the decision was illogical as most of them were preparing for their end of year examinations which the institution refused to move to next year.

Hundreds of students were lined up on its precast wall near the main entrance gate.

There is currently no law barring unvaccinated students from entering their academic institutions' premises has been enacted.

Universities such as Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), Midlands State University (MSU) at all its campuses and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) have no such requirement for students.

Harare Poly Students Representative Council (SRC) president Bruce wrote a letter Mudondo protesting the decision.

"Now it is unfair for the institution to deny students access to education especially on account that they should be vaccinated," reads the letter, seen by NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.

"Vaccination as per law us voluntary not compulsory so the absence of law makes compulsory vaccination illegal thus students should not be denied access to education on that basis. The initiative is also a divorce to the social contract we entered when we got enrolled, paid (exorbitant) fees and registered for examinations thus making us bonafide students," the letter reads.

"Denying students without jabs the right to enter college premises is a serious offence, the exercise of a right by another must not infringe the enjoyment of a right by the other," it further reads.

Moyo proposed that Harare Poly allows Covid-19 negative students to enter premises and use part of their fees to setup a testing centre.

He said instead of chasing away students who are not vaccinated, the institution should instead conscientise students on the need for vaccination in the fight against Covid-19 and if possible setup a vaccination centre within the campus.

Mudondo has been in the news for the wrong reasons over the past months.

He was fought tooth and nail by human rights organisations after suspending students for "hugging within college premises".

Madondo has also been accused of using his office to threaten students and come up with policies that have turned Harare Poly into "a concentration camp" according to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).

Schools opened last week for most polytechnic colleges with examinations set for early next month till December.

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