In a sign that the official tide may be turning against private tertiary institutions, Tertiary Education Minister Alfred Madigele has warned that after six months from now government will not sponsor students for unaccredited courses.
This is likely to leave a number of students in the lurch as it has emerged that a number of courses run by private tertiary institutions are unaccredited. For instance it has since emerged that out of 48 courses offered by Botho University only four have been accredited. Government has been accused of failing students especially on issues related to unaccredited courses.
But last week Madigele told Parliament his ministry is going to ensure that Government sponsorship for all new students will be confined to accredited programmes only. ‘
“It is indeed true that some of the programmes that the students are enrolled in are not fully accredited. It is worth highlighting that the current scenario is a product of a transition of past regulation that allowed students to enrol for programmes which could be provisionally accredited, approved but not yet accredited,” said Madigele.
It is therefore, Madigele said, incumbent upon all the institutions to ensure that their programmes are accredited.
“With regard to those students who are already enrolled in programmes that are not fully accredited, institutions will be expected to ensure compliance within the next six months,” said Madigele. Madigele was addressing Parliament on the state of discontent among tertiary students.
According to Botho Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Leonard Joseph, in 2014 Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) visited Botho University on fact finding mission and got an informed view opinion about how things were running. That was when students learnt that courses were not accredited but only four (4) certificate courses were accredited.
“Botho University has 48 courses in total but 44 courses have only been approved not accredited. This is the issue that led to a strike as we wanted the nation to hear our voice after it proved that the Ministry and BQA did not care about our pleas,” he said.
He also took issue with a decision by the department of tertiary funding to credit students book allowance in their cards which they can only swipe to buy learning material from bookstores on campus.
Joseph said Madigele promised students that “we shall with effect from the next academic year credit the book allowance directly to the students’ accounts. This will therefore ensure that there is uniformity and consistency on the disbursement of book allowances with other institutions as well as bringing closure to students’ concerns on this matter.”
Madigele said the department of Tertiary Education Financing is responsible for paying allowances for the purchase of students’ books and other learning materials.
“Allowances are paid directly to students except for students enrolled at the University of Botswana, Limkokwing University, Botho University, Botswana Accountancy College and Botswana International University of Science and Technology where allowances are paid directly to institutions and credited into students’ cards,” he said.
It has been mentioned institutions have contracted private bookshops to set up in their campuses for the purpose of selling books and other learning materials to students. With this arrangement, students can only buy the required learning resources from the on- campus bookshops.
With respect to University of Botswana, Madigele said the council met on Monday 13th February 2017 and a decision has been taken to the effect that the University will re-open on 6th March 2017.
He said disciplinary action will be taken against individuals who looted for caused malicious damage to property.