The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Godfrey Kalanke, has denied that the recent interdiction of close to 28 officials of the Department of Student Placement on allegations of corruption has grounded its operations to a complete stand still.
According to him, though their operations have been affected to a certain extent, they can still handle cases that require immediate attention, like cases of students who have been admitted in institutions, which will be opening soon and requiring students to finalise their admission procedures including their sponsorships.
”We can still deal with cases that need immediate attention though some of our staff members are on interdiction,” he said.
He, however, denied any knowledge of some 30 medical students who were expected to leave for further studies abroad and who have currently not yet processed their admissions because of the interdiction of staff at the Department of Student Placement.
“I do not know about the cases you are talking about but if there are such students I am sure we can deal with their cases with the skeletal staff we currently have,” he stressed.
But sources say that there was a high possibility that those students will not meet the deadline for registration in the Caribbean countries where they are headed to.
According to the sources the Universities open around the first half of the year which is about to end.
”I do not see those students making it as we understand they have not yet started the long process of applying to the Universities they are supposed to go to,” said the sources.
On admissions to local institutions of high learning, he said that they are currently still waiting for allocation of funds from the government and cannot yet process the bursaries. As soon as they get the funds, he said, they will start working on admissions.
On whether the skeletal staff he has referred to will be able to handle the mammoth work associated with sponsoring such numbers of students, he said that “we will do our best in that regard with the skeletal staff we have”.
But sources say that there is likely to be chaos at the Department and that the skeletal staff Kalanke is referring to is not likely to get over the situation as there is a lot of work involved in giving qualifying students bursaries; it needs full-fledged staff and not skeletal staff. Asked when he hopes the interdicted staff will know their fate, Kalanke said that they do not know about that as the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime has not yet informed them on that.
”We do not have information on that at the moment,” he said.
The DCEC refuses to discuss cases of on-going investigations.