Sunday, November 29, 2020

Student claims scholarship cancelled due to mental health problem

Tears swelled uncontrollably as Kabelo Batisani, a former student, recited how his dreams and ambitions were swept into the drain after his government scholarship was frozen by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development without any valid reason.

Speaking to the Sunday Standard last week, the young man, who hails from Borolong Village in the Tonota Sub Constituency, revealed that his tribulation began four years ago in 2008 at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he was studying under a government scholarship for a Degree in Media and Culture studies when he developed a mental health problem, which led to him being hospitalized in a mental institution.

“I was taken to a mental hospital due to a mental health problem in 2008, discharged four months later and given a medical certificate accrediting my mental fitness but to my amazement the Ministry of Education is refusing to de-activate my scholarship after all the proof that I am mentally fit,” he told the Sunday Standard.

He said that he went to the Department of Student Placement and Welfare (DSPW) to revive his scholarship and provided medical health proof only to hit a snag as he was just told that the government can longer sponsor him because there is no money.

Batisani said that he wants to go back to school and achieve his dreams and added that his family is looking up at him to take care of his siblings and mother.

“Now my dreams are shattered because I do not have a job and at times I feel that my life is hopeless,” he said.

However, contacted for comment, the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Godfrey Kalanke, told the Sunday Standard in a telephone interview that the Ministry will not accommodate such a situation as the government has open and fair policies for students who incur health problems while they are studying.

“If a student incurs health problems while in the middle of his or her studies, the government has to set aside a special treatment of such a student and be sponsored, depending on the type of programme he was studying,” Kalanke said.

He went further to reveal that they are not aware of such a case in the Ministry and suggested that if the student was not fully helped, there are many options of even taking his queries to the Director or even the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.