Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Private colleges cheat Gov’t out of millions of Pula

Botswana tax payers are being fleeced of millions of pula by private tertiary institutions which are duplicating names of students sponsored by government and worse ÔÇô a consultancy has revealed.

BEST Consultants who have been engaged to review the Grant/Loan Sponsorship of the Department of Student Placement and Welfare (DSPW) has turned up information that “in the last few years since DSPW started sponsoring Batswana to study at local private institutions, there have been numerous cases of invoices from these institutions that ended up showing millions of Pula of overcharging per term where, for instance, names of some of the students were duplicated in invoices at different amounts and often with slight differences in information that identifies them.”

The consultancy also turned up an incident in which students at a local private tertiary institution turned up for class one day only to find that their lecturer was a former classmate at a school they previously went to.
The students refused to attend the class “and had to be transferred to another institution with the end result that DSPW paid double tuition fees for them during the period. This is obviously a waste of financial resources that could have been avoided if all institutions where students are placed met minimum standards as articulated by TEC”, stated the consultancy report.

It also emerged that there have also “been cases of students being placed at institutions in South Africa and Malaysia where it was subsequently realized that they were not receiving the education they ought to, and had to be transferred to other institutions, usually to start all over again. The funds expended on their education at the previous institutions are basically money down the drain. This has been a lapse in the placement function more than anything else, and needs to be kept in check for the future.”

The consultancy further revealed that “often students drop out of programmes and some may pass on. And DSPW may not be informed. DSPW then continues to credit bank accounts of people that are no longer students with money for their upkeep (allowances), and this at times goes on for years.

It has further emerged that in some cases students “would inform DSPW in writing as is required, that they have withdrawn from their studies, as such communication often gets filed away without it being shared with the Disbursement Division. The Disbursement Division then continues to pay the former student allowances when they should have stopped doing so.”

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The Telegraph December 2

Digital edition of The Telegraph, December 2, 2020.