University of Botswana Student Representative Council has accused the Department of Tertiary Education Funding (DTEF) of unfairly terminating over 500 student sponsorships.
UB-SRC President Carter Joseph said in the last academic year of 2020-2021 of the University, there was a review of academic regulations for progressing into the next semester as the old one was perceived to be oppressive to students.
Joseph said the new regulations which now allow students to procced into the next semester even when they have failed more than 50% of their credit has been undermined by the DTEF.
He said although students were sponsored for their first and second semester under the new regulations, all has changed now, as students who failed more than 50% of their credit will not be sponsored for their next academic year which begins on the 23rd of August.
“It is shocking how students were allowed to sit for their examinations in May without being told what will happen should they fail more than 50% of their credit because mind you, there were no objections when they were sponsored for the rest of their academic year. fter the academic year finished waiting for their results, they received a communication from DTEF that if you have failed more than 50% of your attempted credit, they will not be sponsored and it should be made clear that what they have communicated with students was not captured in the contract between students and DTEF,” said Joseph.
He further said after the announcement, they engaged the University of Botswana management and they were told that they cannot meddle in the affairs of DTEF.
“Our position is that, we do not encourage academic failure but rather encourage students to pass and graduate but what we are saying is that, DTEF as a public institution, it should take a decision based on the agreement it has with students”
“Moreover, it they take a decision, it should comply with the reasonability, stating that it was a short notice, “said Joseph.
He also said after their failed meeting with DTEF, they have invited UB management for a meeting that is scheduled to be held on Tuesday.
“If the matter fails to be resolved, we will then take DTEF to court on urgent basis because the students are supposed to register for the new academic year on the 22nd of this month.
Attempts to solicit comment from DTEF hit a snag.
The Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Douglas Letsholathebe while saying he is not aware of the matter, defended DTEF saying that the only way the student financing institution can cancel sponsorship is when a student has failed to satisfy a certain clause in the contract.
“They should formally come to me, it is just an issue I have seen on social media, so if they have any concerns, they know the right channels or platforms to raise their displeasure,” said Letsholathebe.
Letsholathebe also encouraged students to have full knowledge of their clauses with DTEF in order to avoid any inconveniences.