Gaolathe Seelo and Tshepo Gaadingwe, both Batswana students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, beat over 50 Information Technology (IT) students and graduated last Tuesday.
The two outstanding scholars were both pursuing Masters’ degrees.
According to Seelo, better known as “DJ G-Spot” to RB2 listeners, most students changed courses while others dropped out because it was not easy.
“This is indeed a difficult course but with commitment, hard work and determination, we were able to succeed,” says Gaadingwe, who not only passed with distinction but was also top of his class.
“We were sponsored up to degree level and then sponsored ourselves to do a master’s degree as the Botswana Ministry of Education does not sponsor postgraduate studies,” stated Seelo, who largely depended on his deejaying to get by.
Gearing up for the new university of Technology which is to be opened in Palapye in two years time, Seelo and Gaadingwe told The Sunday Standard that they had already registered for their doctoral studies with the intention to be lecturers at the soon-to-be opened university back home.
Seelo, however, stressed that it is not easy to find sponsorship for their doctoral programme.
“We have tried to solicit sponsorships from South Africa. Unfortunately, being foreigners they could not offer us the full sponsorship package. However, credit is due to them as they paid for all our tuition and fees,” Seelo said.
“Day to day living is hard without a stipend, especially at this level of study which entails site visits and in-depth research,” added Gaadingwe.
Out of frustration and lack of funds to sustain themselves, they traveled to Botswana in early April with the intention of soliciting for any type of sponsorship in order for them to continue with their studies. They approached the Department of Student Placement and Welfare, where they were told that the department sponsors only under graduate students.
“We also tried Debswana and the British Embassy only to find out that they had already sponsored other students,” stated Seelo.
Gaadingwe pointed out that the policy which seems to have been adopted in general is that of producing workers, i.e. educating young people to come back and work in the country and later, possibly, pursue further studies. He further added that it was surprising that at the institution they were studying, South African citizens found it is easier to get support for postgraduate studies rather than under-graduate.
“It seems that we are encouraged to work and build companies to employ our fellow citizens. This, in its self, is a positive thing and I support it fully,” Seelo observed. “However, not everyone wants to pursue such career choices.” Seelo further added that a stronger push by Government to support postgraduate students could be of great benefit to the country in the long run and is inline with one of the key pillars of Vision 2016 of building an Educated and Informed nation.