Batswana have reacted negatively to the recent announcement by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, that, beginning next year, her ministry will be sending debt collectors to collect owed monies.
Those who have benefited from government sponsorship for tertiary education say such a drastic measure is uncalled for and is a good sign of failure to perform by those in charge at the Ministry.
Oaitse Keagile, a secondary school teacher in Gaborone, says that it will be unfair for the government to send debt collectors after him because he has never received any correspondence from the government informing him about his debt to the government and the amount that he owes.
”I will be surprised if debt collectors come after me for money that I allegedly owe the MOE,” said Keagile. “I have never been made aware of that or told the amount that I owe.”
Keagile says that the Minister should, instead of issuing such threats, make sure that all those who owe are made aware of that in writing before such drastic action is taken.
Another former beneficiary, Isaac Oagile, says that he too has never received any correspondence from the MOE and, as such, does not even know how much he owes or where to pay.
”If they can kindly inform us on how much we owe and where to pay before they issue threats it would be very human,” he said.
Eric Nare says that he would be happy if all those who benefited, beginning at the time sponsorship started, including those who have retired pay.
He says that it is unfair to make those who have recently started working pay whilst those who have been working for a long time and amassed wealth are not made to pay.
”I am ready to pay if given the bill but would also like those who have long worked to pay up as well, instead of us who have just started working,” he said.
Nare believes that it will only be people like him who have recently started working who will end up paying as record keeping in all government Ministries is very poor.
MOE runs a department dedicated to the collection of debt from those who benefited from government sponsorship.
Reports, however, say that the department has failed to perform as many people still owe the department millions of pula.
In the past, some prominent Gaborone lawyers were named as being amongst those who owe the MOE.
The Public Relations officer in MOE, Nomsa Zuze, has declined to comment on the matter referring all questions to the Director of Student Placement and Welfare, Toziba Masalila, who said she knew nothing about the announcement.