A government programme that brought hope and fanfare among the youth dubbed “ Upskilling and Upscaling” has turned the hopes into despair as the government coffers allocated to the programme crumbled before reaching the targeted 20 000 youth.
Opposition Botswana Congress Party has defined the government programme dubbed “Upskilling and Upscaling” that was targeting to absorb 20 000 youth in tertiary institutions as the ruling party’s move that was meant to gain political mileage.
Botswana Congress Party comments come after Education, Skills and Development Ministry, Permanent Secretary Dr Theophilus Mooko revealed that the money that was budgeted to target 20 000 students was exhausted.
Mooko said this when responding to Public Accounts Committee members who wanted to know why the government hastily introduced the programme that ignited hope among the youth only to bring despair among them.
In his rensponse, Mooko informed the Public Accounts Committee that the budget that was allocated for 20 000 youth has only managed to sponsor 12 000 students before it got depleted.
Mooko was responding to Francistown West MP Ignitious Moswaane who wanted to know why the ministry failed to sponsor youth who were admitted in tertiary schools under the programme.
Mooko admitted that the ministry failed to come up with a budget that was intended to take students to local institution for upskilling and upscaling programme.
According to Mooko there were more than 15 000 applications that were received for sponsorship but due to financial constraits only 12 000 students were sponsored.
He further said that they have not written to those who were admitted to inform them about their failure to sponsor them when quizzed on whether they had informed those who received admissions letters from different institutions.
Mooko also stated that they intend to inform those who received admission letters that the government will not extend such gesture to them due to financial constraints.
Mooko could not respond toMember of Parliament Ignatious Moswaane’s question when he wanted to know why those who were admitted have not yet received allowances after being admitted in different institutions in Botswana. Moswaane was of the view that the government continues to empower the rich by sponsoring students in tertiary schools while the caliber produced by these institutions is of poor quality disadvantaging the youth.
However, BCP Youth League, Chilliboy Rakgari castigated the ruling party for trying to appease youth to buy votes prior to 2019 elections.
Rakgari stated that they have long dismissed the programme which was used by the ruling party to gain political support among the youth. Rakgari was of the view that the ruling party hastily introduced the programme to appease the youth after they became aware that the youth were no longer interested in voting BDP. He said that currently the number of students who miss out on tertiary education is sky-rocketing making it difficult to absorb the youth through this programme. Rakgari went further to state that the issue of unemployment among the youth remains a challenge.