Opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) plans to join forces with Teachers’ Unions to demonstrate against the downsizing of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology next month.
The planned mass demonstration, led by the party president, Dumelang Saleshando, has the blessings of the Botswana Secondary Teachers Union and the Botswana Teachers Union.
The demonstration, dubbed “Save BIUST ÔÇô Save the future of our children” is to be held in Palapye, where the university is being constructed, and is slated for 11 December.
A press statement released this week by the BCP Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, says that the demonstration seeks to pressurize the government into changing its position to downsize BIUST.
President Ian Khama announced in his State of the Nation Address early this month that delays and cost escalations in the BIUST project are likely to affect government’s initial plan for the university to open next year.
“Due to the difficult financial situation arising from the recent recession and changes in the tertiary education landscape, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is in the process of reviewing the BIUST project to determine the appropriate scope and focus in the context of what we can currently afford,” said Khama.
The government of President Khama allocated P12.4 million in 2007 towards consultancy for provision of transaction advisory services to International Finance Corporation (Pty) Ltd for BIUST. In addition, the government paid a further US$600,000 for “milestones achieved by Botswana government to IFC”. The expenditure was approved by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board in April 2007.
The government is also constructing the University of Botswana 450 bed teaching hospital at a cost of P1.3 billion and it is anticipated to be completed by 2013.