Wednesday, September 30, 2020

MCE students defy Minister Nkate

Early this week, accusations and name calling by student representatives to management were the order of the day following a decision by Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate, to close the Molepolole College of Education (MEC).
The students had boycotted classes for nearly a week.

District Commissioner, Sumde Ongadile, said the decision to close the school came about because of the students’ reluctance to resume classes while the task force assigned by the ministry tried to address the sensitive issues they had raised.

Keokopile Matenge, president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) told the Sunday Standard that students started boycotting classes a week before closing.

Amongst the complaints are issues of poor water capacity, electrical supply, non functional sewage system and the absence of a matron.

The SRC went to the District Commissioner’s office to request for intervention on the boycott.
“The commissioner told us that our grievances would only be taken into consideration if we stopped the boycotts because he saw them as irresponsible,” said Matenge.

Matenge further alleged that the students were not happy with the way the commissioner handled the situation so they went to see Nkate the following day where they were told that their plight would be taken into consideration.

Ongadile says allegations made against him by the SRC to the nation were fiction although he admits that the students came to his office.

“The SRC is not telling the truth. I set up a meeting for them with Minister Nkate after they left my office. The next day, he called them to his office where they were given the same advice as that I had given them,” said the commissioner.

The task set up by Minister Nkate comprised of 6 student representatives and 5 representatives from the ministry.

Ministry officials in the task force made it a condition to abandon the class boycott before any work could start.

On the 10th of July, the 5 from the ministry withdrew.

On July 14th the school was closed as per the minister’s directive.
The students have since sent two letters to the Office of the President appealing the decision but to no avail.
The first letter was sent the day after they received a letter from Nkate informing them that if, by the 14th July, the students did not resume classes, the ministry would have no option but to close the institution.
The SRC president has since met and briefed President Ian Khama on the matter.

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