Monday, January 24, 2022

Whistleblower details Education crisis to Khama

A whistleblower has filed a report with President Ian Khama detailing how incompetence and poor corporate governance are destroying the country’s education system. The report filed a few weeks before the General Elections castigates the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) for failing to spearhead the countries education polices due to alleged maladministration.

In his five-page long report, the whistleblower states that senior management at both the two institutions were hell bent on ensuring that there is decline in education standards in Botswana in an effort to discredit Khama’s administration. He states that tertiary institutions are also in a crisis as a result of failure of leadership by those at the helm of the two institutions.

The whistleblower requests that Khama should instruct Ministers Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, Shaw Kgati and Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to launch an investigation into the crisis afflicting the education system as a result of the senior management at HRDC and BQA. The whistleblower says the situation is not helped by the fact that Board Chairpersons of the two institutions are helpless as they are unable to rein senior managers at the two institutions.

At HRDC, the whistleblower alleges that, there is a certain manager, who was initially with the Tertiary Education Council (TEC) who is calling the shots as he is now in charge of unfairly hiring and promoting his former colleagues at TEC. He further alleges that a number of consultants at HRDC and BQA have been hired to offer services that are never rendered yet they continue to be paid millions of Pula. Further allegations, which have been brought to Khama’s attention, are that a number of junior employees have been unduly promoted.

The whistleblower claims that senior management at both HRDC and BQA were responsible for the decline in Botswana’s education standards for the past few years. He warns that if nothing is done and the declining standard of education in the country is not treated as a matter of urgency and with the seriousness it deserves, the country’s education will plunge into a serious crisis. Responding to the whistleblower’s report, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Richard Matlhare wrote to the Acting Board Chairperson Dr Kegalale Gasennelwe to take action with “immediate effect.” The letter was also copied to the HRDC acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Patrick Molutsi.

“We are in receipt of an appeal submitted to the Office of the President, on allegations of maladministration at the HRDC. In the main, the issues raised pertain to the following; Corporate Governance and Organisational leadership, Performance and competence level of the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Communication at the various levels of the organisation, for example between the Chairperson and the Acting CEO and between the latter and the executive management, management of conflict of interest to some of the transitional process leading to recruitment of staff for the HRDC,’ states Matlhare.

Matlhare added that “we request that you investigate the issues and provide the Ministry with a report by 14 October 2014, that will assist his Excellency the President’s Office to respond to the appeal. We note the short notice but we are under pressure to furnish the President’s Office with a response by 16 October 2014.”

Responding to Sunday Standard queries, BQA Communications and Customer Service Manager Selwana Pilatwe- Koppenhaver said “As you have rightly pointed out, the letter was an appeal to the Office of the President against some issues at Botswana Qualifications Authority.” She added that “The OP as procedure would dictate then wrote to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, the parent ministry of BQA, to attend to the matter. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development in turn wrote the BQA Board Chairperson to respond. The BQA Board is handling the matter and Management will not be able to comment on the issues that are at this level of governance. At the time of going to press Matlhare and Molutsi had not responded to a questionnaire sent two weeks ago.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper