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Ministry of Education owes UB P400m

MPHO MOKWAPE
University of Botswana PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The University of Botswana (UB) is reportedly owed millions by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology. The owed amount in the sum of P423 million, was apparently a result of the ministry asking the university to tap into its own savings.

This is reported that this was due to the ministry’s failure to avail the much-needed funds it had promised the university for students’ sponsorship.

The revelation surfaced before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday as the member of the committee, Samson Moyo Guma, questioned why the ministry was trying to write off the invoice of the said amount belonging to UB.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Theophilus Mooko admitted to the PAC that indeed the university was owed such an amount. He explained that the ministry had a serious financial challenge and UB was asked to use its own savings to remedy the situation.

“The ministry ran out of funds and as per the agreement between three parties, being the latter, the university and the Ministry of Finance that the university will use its savings,” he said. Mooko acknowledged that the funds were meant to sponsor students and that the ministry was not trying to write off the invoice without reason.

However, he denied diverting the money to private institutions, noting that it was purely because the ministry ran out of funds. “There is no such evidence that the money was diverted to private institutions. We just didn’t anticipate that we will

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run out of funds. The decision for UB to use its savings was a collective one,” he explained.

This was after the Tati East legislator pressed on the matter and accused the ministry of diverting the funds.

His contention was that the ministry could not commit to sponsoring students and when it was time to pay then cry of lack of funds. On if there are plans to introduce cost-sharing between parents and the government for students’ education, Basic Education permanent secretary, Collie Monkge said there are no such plans in place. He explained that the ministry and the government had long committed to providing free education, therefore it will continue to do so.

“As it is, the parents are already sharing costs with government in terms of buying school uniforms, taxi fares amongst other things, improvement of education is more than the government introducing fees, it needs core leadership and skilled manpower,” he said.

Committee member, Polson Majaga had wanted to know if there were such plans looking at the collapse of the education system.

Reasons being that the more parents are investing in the education of their children, the more they will pay more attention and help where necessary.



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