A group of students from the Botswana College of Engineering and Technology have accused the College of cheating them into enrolling for programmes that they alleged to be accredited by the University of Botswana, only to be told last week that the Ministry of Education was now responsible of accrediting them.
The news was relayed to the students last week in a meeting with the College Principal and other staff members, a development that left all the students disgruntled. About 70 students in the faculty of Plant Engineering and Lab Technology have been affected by this turnaround.
“The college has cheated us,” said one of the affected students who preferred anonymity. “When they advertised in 2010, the advert clearly stipulated that we would be awarded certificates by University of Botswana only to be told last week about this latest development. We are not amused at all because they knew about this in March last year (2011) and they never bothered to inform us,” he said.
The Ministry of Education says they are investigating who put the advert in the paper and why.
Last year, the college advertised the same programmes and students were admitted into college but before they could start lessons they were then told the college no longer offered the courses. The students say this is the time they believe the college knew that UB was no longer accrediting them.
“We have written a letter of complaint to the Ministry of Education and Office of the President; we want them to look into our issue and address it,” he said. “The college took the decision without consulting us; they only came to inform us.”
The Head of the Mechanical Department, a Salim, said: “We have been informed about this by the college but I’m not fully aware of the real story behind.”
SRC president, Poloko Dobo, confirmed that he was fully aware of the issue and was equally surprised.
“The issue has changed altogether and everyone is amazed,” said Dobo. “We were told last week that UB has given the college all the rationales and will not have a hand in anything, but reasons for changes were not revealed.”
He added: “They should have communicated with the students earlier and not to wait until the last minute when the students are left with 12 weeks to complete their programmes.”
Dobo said students have every right to say they feel cheated in this respect because the college should have communicated earlier.
When reached for comment the deputy Principal, Michael Gwebu, said, “I’m not in a position to discuss this issue because students were addressed by, Dr Mogo, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.”
Said Oarabile Khefo, the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Education and Development: “It is true that this happened and it was an unfortunate scenario. We are currently investigating who did the advert and why the person did it.”
He, however, said since the mistake was committed, they have since moved forward to look into how they can rectify the problem.
“We have since moved forward and have addressed the students; even though it’s the ministry accrediting the courses, it does not mean their programmes will be of lesser quality,” said Khefo. He said they are currently looking into moving some of the affected students to diploma level.