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Mps calls for private collegesí probe

The MP for Okavango, Bagalatia Arone, wants a task force set up to probe private universities and colleges in Botswana. The legislator said the task force should determine whether the institutions are bogus or not.

Though Parliament is yet to vote on the motion, it was obvious on Friday that MPs from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) will use their overwhelming majority to shoot it down.

Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi, solicited support for the motion appealing to legislators to think about the future of their children.

When moving the motion, Arone said his was a humble request and he has no intention to hurt anyone. He argued that the Ministry of Education is allocated the largest share of the national  budget and that Parliament  should therefore be assured that the money is put to good use.

He said private colleges and universities in Botswana charge a lot of money and yet some do not have all the facilities. He accused some of the institutions of seeking to milk Batswana, instead of providing quality education. He said certain institutions do not have facilities like laboratories, yet they offer science courses. Others employ unqualified lecturers. Arone’s major concern is that there is a proliferation of the private institutions, some of whom are not registered, yet the ministry is not doing anything. 

He suspects some of the colleges are briefcase operations and their programmes are not academic. The MP for Selebi-Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse. who supported the motion said the institutions cut corners and employ dirty tricks and fraud to hoodwink the people. He said the ministry must

make sure that the colleges conform to the required standards by not operating illegally or employing unqualified staff. Therefore, it was proper that a task team be appointed to expose the offending institutions. 

Keorapetse alleged that some of the institutions issue fake certificates, though the owners hold lavish graduation ceremonies and give honorary degrees to some leaders, which he said is a bribe. However, Defence and Security Minister, Shaw Kgathi chipped in and accused Keorapetse of imputing improper motives in Parliament.

Kgathi asked Keorapetse to state the names of the institutions he is talking about. He argued that Arone’s motion was badly crafted and that Parliament must be used effectively to talk about serious issues. He said government has put in place bodies that monitor the institutions and MPs should back off. He argued that the role of Parliament is to make laws and therefore asked his colleagues in the Opposition to be focused.

However, the MP for Borolong, James Mathokgwane, said Kgathi was out of order, while Mmolotsi advised the minister that government official can be appointed in the task team and not necessarily MPs.  In her response, Assistant Minister, Unity Dow said Arone could not tell her what to do and how to work. Dow said that appointing a task team is costly yet there are bodies, which have been appointed to monitor and regulate the institutions.




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