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Govt pays P7.5m in school fees for ex-BCL workers’ children

MPHO MOKWAPE
BCL Mine
The government has reportedly paid around P7.5 million for children of former BCL Mine workers after the latter agreed to pay for their school fees following the closure of the Mine.

The Ministry of Employment, Labour and Skills Development permanent secretary, Pearl Ramokoka confirmed that the amount had already been issued and spent accordingly and that it reflected on the 2017-2018 financial year.

She explained to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that as per the government’s commitment to pay school fees for the former employees’ children, such amount was issued for that purpose.

However, Ramokoka could not confirm how much was used as she explained that invoices were returned due to lack of information.

“At the moment, we are not yet sure how much was used out of the total funds because some invoices were returned due to lack of information on the said students,” she said.

She was answering a question from committee member and specially elected Member of Parliament (MP) Mephato Reatile, who had wanted to know how much had already been used for such following the government’s commitment.

Reatile’s question was premised on the fact that following the closure of BCL Mine in October 2016, affecting over 4,000 workers, the government had

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promised to pay the fees for one year, of which after that, negotiations would be opened going forward. On more education issues, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Theophilus Mooko explained that vocational training was still an important part of education.

He explained that the ministry was doing all it can to revive it through reforms so it is at par with other sectors of education. “Vocational Training is still an important part of education though it may not amount to as much as training a medical student or any other student,” he said.  The committee member, Ndaba Gaolathe had asked what the ministry was doing to advance vocational training.

He explained that in advanced societies, vocational training was taken seriously to a point that training a vocational student cost the same as a medical one.

Gaolathe requested the ministry to do better in advancing vocational training, as there seems to be a collapse in the system when it comes to it.



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