Soon after the 2018 Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) results were released, The Monitor carried an article about a 17-year-old refugee from Zimbabwe, who is currently housed at the Dukwi refugee camp.
Xolile Ngwenya, who got 48 points from her best six subjects, had fears that she might not get the opportunity to further her studies. Many Batswana from different walks of life were pained by the young woman’s circumstances. Many pleaded with the government to sponsor Ngwenya, to fulfill her dream of attending tertiary institution. Some even called on the business community to assist the Ngwenya family with funds to send their daughter to university.
Well, now Ngwenya and three other young women from the Dukwi camp will be able to attend university, thanks to the decision taken by the University of Botswana (UB) to pay for their tuition fees, accommodation, and living costs.
The UB’s goodwill gesture will certainly go a long in giving the young women an opportunity to pave way for a brighter future. After The Monitor featured an article about Ngwenya’s plight many were calling for government to review its policy on sponsorship of tertiary education for refugees. Well, it is understandable that government in reviewing such policies will have to look at a number of issues. But we think it is time government reviews the policy or adds a special clause, to it, that caters for students with outstanding performance.
UB said after reading about Ngwenya, they decided to visit the Dukwi refugee camp, where the university discovered other children who are in need of sponsorship.
Officials of the institution of higher learning added that it came into contact with four other learners, who scored 44 points and above, who are eligible for sponsorship. However, due to financial constraints, UB at this time cannot sponsor the prospective students. The University has done its part by sponsoring Ngwenya, Linda Nikiza (Burundi), Etress Nyoni (Zimbabwe) and Tebogo Moyo (Zimbabwe)
Moyo and Nyoni previously received sponsorship from Maru-A-Pula School to pursue A Levels, which they have completed.
Maru-A-Pula School, had offered Ngwenya sponsorship for A-Levels, but the young woman chose to go to UB, fearing that the sponsorship offer might not be available when she completes her A-Levels.
The UB has urged the corporate community to follow suit and sponsor the other remaining students. The plea by UB, is indeed a powerful, since the learning institution, is leading by example. Let’s continue to be the compassionate nation that we are and give the remaining learners an opportunity to realise their dreams.