While the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced early this year that it would sponsor students with 36 points and above, students seeking sponsorship have been sent into turmoil over their points since the beginning of last week.
The ministry has confirmed that it is giving preference to "high flyers",
The students, who were at the University of Botswana (UB) stadium, say they were told that the ministry would award sponsorships beginning with those with 48 points down until it reaches the quota of each institution. "We were so disappointed by the announcement that the government has backtracked on that decision and returned to its earlier one," said one student who preferred anonymity.
The Department of Student Placement and Welfare is currently processing sponsorships for the students due to begin their first year at UB, Botswana Accountancy College, Botswana College of Agriculture and Institutes of Health Sciences. According to one student with 38 points, who has been admitted to UB to pursue a social sciences degree, students were told that sponsorships would be awarded to those with 40 points and above first.
"That is the criteria being used since the beginning of the process three weeks ago," the student said.
"We don't know what happened because yesterday they started calling out names randomly, and we realised they were names of students with different points down to 36."
He explained that while they are happy that they will be awarded sponsorships finally, the process is
The students said the MoE officers only begin at approximately 9am by bringing out 20 files.
They then disappear for more than three hours and reappear with another 20 files, including those not collected earlier.
"We have to be here again the following day," a student said.
"I have been coming here for the past three weeks and still have not been called despite the fact that I have 42 points.
It is not as though we get up in the morning without anything to do. "Some of us have jobs and cannot afford to be sitting here all day every day.
They have our emails and telephone numbers that they could use if our files are ready instead of having us sit here all day." Meanwhile, when reached for comment, the principal public pelations officer at MoE, Nomsah Zuze, said that it was true that sponsorships are being awarded to "high flyers" first.
"It would not make sense to have people with 36 points awarded sponsorships while those with 40 points and above idle on the street," Zuze said.
"Those who have performed well should be rewarded."