Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Ministry approaches parliament begging P1.3 billion

Information reaching Sunday Standard reveals that the new Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology needs an extra P1.3 billion to be able to continue sponsoring  Tertiary School students.

The P1.3 billion will be used to pay tuition fees for new students, buy stationery and to sponsor students who are retaking modules. Alfred Madigele, the Minister responsible for Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology confirmed the need for extra funds amounting to P1.3 billion.

This is despite the Ministry of Education and Skills Development getting the largest share of the Ministerial Recurrent Budget for 2016/2017 financial year which started in February this year. The Ministry of Education budget was P10.64 billion.

This large budget was expected to cater for among others teaching services’ wage bill, post-secondary bursaries, and subventions to University of Botswana and other Government funded tertiary institutions, increased enrolment for the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, provision for examination costs, maintenance of institutional facilities, food for secondary school students, and utility costs for the various education facilities.

The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology is expected to approach Parliament during this session to request for the extra P1.3 billion.

“The Extra P1.3 billion, we are going to request from Parliament as a supplementary budget is meant for Tertiary Education Financing. My Ministry is asking for extra money because finances are depleted due to the increasing number of students needing to be sponsored. There are also students who have been sponsored but failed and are now seeking re-sponsorship from government,” said Madigele when he explained the need to request extra funds

He emphasized that the money will be channelled on students’ tuition and allowances, the Ministry is not sure yet when they will approach parliament to request for extra P1.3 billion, “we are not sure yet when we will approach Parliament but it will be during this session of Parliament,” he said.

Recently University of Botswana (UB) students engaged in a strike organised by Student Representative Council (SRC) over late payment of their living allowances. Other private Tertiary institutions students experienced the worst as some of them have gone  six months without allowances as they were told government had no money.

Despite Government channelling huge funds in education not much results are obtained as graduates still roam the streets un-employed. This is due to skills mismatch and Tertiary Schools producing students who are not ready for market.

Concerned with the declining education performance, Government adopted the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) in 2015, whose implementation was expected to address the quality of existing Vocational Education and Training programmes as a way of equipping the youth with appropriate skills. The strategic Plan also is said to have not helped the situation.

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