Target 20, 000 introduced a few years ago by the then Ministry of Education and Skills was meant to stop Botswana from exporting jobs. Currently, if one needs a welder or carpenter, the person you are likely to get is a foreigner, especially a Zimbabwean.
Over the years, our education system has always been just academic-oriented and has disfranchised multitudes of Batswana who failed Junior Certificate Education. Majority of these unfortunate people trudge the streets with a bleak future. They end up forced into menial jobs in which they are paid as low as P800 a month. If these people were equipped with artisan skills, they could earn between P7,000 and P20,000 a month. Hence Target 20,000 was introduced to address this shortage of skills in the country. However, the programme was consumed by greed that is a norm and rife in the public service. Some people in that ministry together with some corrupt institutions set out to plunder government coffers. The Directorate on Commercial and Economic Crimes (DCEC) should move against such people who have lined their pockets with ill-gotten funds.
We learn that there was this particular woman who made it a sleaze operation. She and her relative in that ministry would call some corrupt owners of institutions and negotiate how many students they will be given and how much cut she would get in return. This is how the students were allocated, and in fact, the relative would make side deals with institutions in exchange for his influence over his boss.
The culprits made millions of Pula in this corrupt manner from equally corrupt businesspeople. In the beginning, the programme almost collapsed because there were no funds for it and
This was because the HRDC was weary of the manner in which quotas for the students were allocated. They were also weary of the courses that were offered. The council questioned whether they were essential skills that will address the shortage of skills in order to help the economy grow.
A committee was set up to allocate students but by this time, this woman and her relative had already allocated students some schools. We are talking of more than 10,000 students who had been allocated to select institutions. Notwithstanding the programme was suspended.
Hundreds of millions of Pulas went down the drain because people went to upskill themselves in courses that the economy did not need. The other thing was that everything was done to ensure that the schools that have kickbacks to the said individuals were accredited. Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) was hurried to help them get accreditation.
It is worth noting that these schools were allocated students before they were accredited for the courses that they said they wanted to offer. They were given students before they had infrastructure and human resources which is unheard of. Hence we call on the DCEC to do their job and investigate the rot and catch these big fish.
“Time will inevitably uncover dishonesty and lies; history has no place for them.”
- Norodom Sihanouk