There is lack of communication from Botswana Consulate General's office.
Since the arrival of the new in-service Consulate General around July 2009, the office has never called an official meeting with in-service trainees based at Monash University. This has confused most in-service trainees as they feel neglected.
On-campus residence fees
At the close of the 2008 academic year, there was no communication either from consulate general's office to students or from Consulate General's office to training coordinators from concerned ministries with regards to on-campus residence fees.
The Consulate General decided to limit or set the ceiling for annual in-service trainees' on-campus residence fee at R25, 000 without consulting ministries/training coordinators from concerned ministries.
The Consulate General's office was requested by ministries to pay all fees due as they gave in-service trainees short notice. Towards the end of 2009 academic year, the consulate general's office threatened not to pay any on-campus fees exceeding R25,000 per for government sponsored students studying at Monash University.
In other words, the Consulate General's Office was forcing all government sponsored students to stay off-campus.
The Consulate General's office does not seem to have communicated with training coordinators or ministries as the ministries and training coordinators claim not to know anything regarding the matter.
Training coordinators have stated that they had instructed the Consulate General to pay all fees as the government had decided not send anymore trainees to the university as Monash University South Africa was expensive as compared to other universities within the Southern African region.
What the Consulate General's office does not seem to understand is that private property rentals around Monash University are very high - one cannot find a shared apartment at less than R2,500 per person per month.
That is, it is common to find four students sharing a four bedroomed apartment with each tenant or student paying R2,500 per month excluding utilities and transport to and from the university (daily).
A point of major concern is that there is minimal security off-campus as compared to on-campus. Almost every week, a Monash University student (staying off-campus) gets mugged and they lose things like cellular phones, cash, bankcards and laptops.
I advice the government to pay all fees as Monash University is at liberty to adjust it's fees as it suits like any business to avoid being bankrupt and get all government sponsored students to stay on-campus for security reasons.
This will make it easy for the Consulate General's office to meet or find government sponsored students in case of emergency.
Pending tuition and residence fees
Based on the fact that the consulate general's office had not yet settled in-service trainees tuition and on-campus residence fees (by the end of December 2009), Monash University South Africa had decided to encumber or freeze the concerned students' accounts.
This means that concerned trainees are denied access to the university network making it impossible to access student email accounts or view examination results. Most trainees tried to contact the university but were informed that they should contact the Consulate General's office as they had pending bills with the university.
Unpaid holiday allowance for students staying on-campus
By the end of December 2009, the Consulate General's office had not paid holiday allowance for in-service trainees staying on-campus.
As per government training policy, in-service trainees staying on-campus should be paid holiday allowance equivalent to at least two months allowance (R1520 x 2 = R3040) at the end of the academic year if they are forced to vacate university residence.
Every year-end, Monash University closes all students' residential places in order that they carry out necessary maintenance. As such, foreign students have to find alternative accommodation - for themselves and personal property - and this means they have to pay for temporary accommodation from November until end of February the following year.
In-service trainees have been using this allowance to pay for temporary accommodation.
All these issues -mpending fees, encumbered students accounts and unpaid holiday allowances - have led to the financial embarrassment of the Government of Botswana as both Monash University and the South African government consider the Botswana Government unable to afford student's living expenses within South Africa. Could i request the government to act on this matter as soon as possible.