The new Graduate Volunteer Scheme introduced by Government to attach young graduates on organisations that have opportunities for volunteer work is not welcomed by graduates and politicians.
The Telegraph took the matter to streets where under graduates especially at the University of Botswana said they have no interest enrolling for the program.
The students’ worries are that the P600 salary cannot sustain their lives especially at a time when the standard of living has risen over the years.
Students argue that proper analysis on the program was not done because had the government thought wise nothing of this sort would have been introduced.
The government failed to analyze that those who are likely to benefit from the program if at all there are any graduates who may want to enroll are those who are leaving in towns and big villages where organizations are situated.
Graduates who are currently staying at rural areas cannot afford to relocate to cities for the program because the amount that the program offers cannot sustain their rents, transport money, food, utilities and other needs in the cities.
Michel Kinnear an undergraduate at the University of Botswana told The Telegraph that it would be better getting that 600 Pula while waiting for a job opportunity at home rather than doing the voluntarily work required of them.
“I can’t work for that little even though they call it volunteerism. No way would I take that. It will be a waste of time. Its better when you depend on your parents under their care than enrolling for P600 per month.”
Another undergraduate at the University of Botswana, Queen Gabanagae said the salary offered by the scheme is an insult to graduates.
“I would never enroll for that program. The money is just peanuts. It’s an insult; volunteerism does not mean exploiting people. That amount cannot sustain a life. Not in this era and not in this country. We are buying at the same shops as those who earn thousands of Pula, at the same price. How are we expected to live with P600 pula?”
Under graduates say government’s intention is to enrol them in the program and classify them as employed. Tshepo Sekgororoane at UB said, “This is the government’s answer to curbing unemployment. They want to enrol us into this program so they can classify us as employed. It’s an insult to graduates. Degree holders deserve way better than this. I can’t earn more or less the same amount of allowance as an Ipelegeng worker after my hard earned degree.
Tinashe Nyangu said the government is panicking. “They have put out so many graduates out there in the streets and now they don’t know what to do with them. We are all victims of the current system. They need to re-evaluate and start doing things properly. They should stop trying to please everyone and be selective about who they educate and why. I would enrol for the scheme simply because it is brought about by the very system that put me school and now they cannot provide a job for me.”
According to government the program is intended to facilitate skills development and transfer to young graduates, contribute to community development; promote the spirit of volunteerism; improve resilience of the graduate youth, and reduce idle time.
Government believes that the participants will not only contribute to community development initiatives but they will also improve their employment readiness through on the job training and experience. Generally, participants will be enrolled where they have accommodation but it is possible for participants to stay with host families, particularly in the rural areas. Emphasis will be on placement in the rural districts where there is need for service. This is intended to improve service delivery in rural areas by engaging young people in extension work.
Participants will be placed in Government and Public Institutions, including the Disciplined Forces. This is intended to improve the reach of the disciplined forces to communities. Each participant will receive a meal allowance of P600.00, and will be given priority for placement in the National Internship Programme.
Application forms for participation in the Graduate Volunteer Scheme (GVS) will be available from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture District offices countrywide with effect from 13th April, 2015.