Call to regulate fees charged by private schools
by John Regonamanye
Botswana Democratic Party Member of Parliament, Fidelis Molao, rubbed his party colleagues the wrong way on Friday as he labeled the country they are in control of as a communist state that is masquerading as a capitalist state.
Contributing to a motion, which calls for the regulation of fees charged by private educational institutions, Molao prompted clarification calls and murmurs from his side of the House as he took a swipe at his government for pretending to be a free market state when, in actual fact, it is a communist state.
“Some of you say this motive could scare away investors from the country. But I can tell you some of these so-called investors come without even a background of how a school is run and are only interested in ripping Batswana of their hard earned money,” he argued, maintaining that the briefcase investors, taking advantage of the absence of a regulatory framework, were “sitting on the goldmine deliberately provided by the education sector”.
Said Molao: “We may think we are a capitalist state but in actual fact we are a communist state,” to the murmurs and derision from his own party’s colleagues.
The Tonota North MP indicated that the government, under the guise of free market state, was encouraging private school owners to do as they wish, adding that there was nothing stopping the same government from coming with a regulatory body as everything is within their power and reach.
“We are doing Batswana injustice,” Molao added, accusing the government of double standards as to provide some sectors regulatory bodies while they would not for others.
He cited the transport operation sector, which has a regulatory threshold.
Eager to kill the motion prematurely as the debate progressed in parliament, the Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Keletso Rakhudu, and some of his party’s members intervened, saying that the reason the private schools were charging these high fees was because of facilities and infrastructure convenience they offer.
But Molao would not budge, insisting the same lavish commodities, including toilets available in some bus coaches, were not a guarantee for a high bus fare as a uniform charge exists across the country on all the transport operators.
Concerned about the high prices charged by some private school owners, Francistown MP Wynter Mmolotsi moved the motion, calling on the government to develop a mechanism, in consultation with stakeholders, for the regulation of fees of private educational institutions.
The debate continues.