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Target 20 000 to enroll after budgetary mess

BABOKI KAYAWE
Students
After facing budgetary constraints the Target 20 000 initiative is set to enroll a new intake soon, Mmegi has learnt. The project, introduced in 2015 was initially not budgeted for with the Department of Tertiary Education Finance then saying it was only told about it when the design process was complete hence they had no budgetary provisions for it.

This led to the suspension of intakes for sometime.

The budget issue as admitted by assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Fidelis Molao in Parliament recently was also a result of funds being overstretched, as programme guidelines were not followed to the book.

Molao said one of the major flaws that occurred in the implementation of the programme relates to the fact that students wanted long-term programmes instead of short-term ones. He said some students ended up taking four-year programmes against the original plan.

However, when asked how the ministry intends to address challenges such as students drop outs, as they wanted long term programmes against short courses that Target 20 000 focuses on, higher education spokesperson Silas Sehularo said, “to this end, long term programmes were not to be addressed through the Target 20 000.”

To his knowledge those who dropped out, were doing so due to other reasons such as absconding, not being successful during their studies.

Sehularo further said the ministry has a budget for the programme covering tuition, living allowances for students and all associated costs.

“The programme has been fully budgeted for as part of the 2017-18 financial year. The same will happen as we move on to the next budget circle,

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2018-19,” he added. He could not be drawn into discussing the number of students for the next intake as it will be demand driven with respect to areas of focus whilst the numbers will be influenced by the demand and the available budget.

“The Human Resource Development Council is still working on the National Human Resource Development Plan which will be available next year. The programme will be informed by this plan,” he said.

A tracer study that started in 2016 is already in place, he said. Additionally there is continuous monitoring and evaluation exercise, which the ministry undertakes on regular basis. All this will assist in the review of any necessary processes.

A total of P115 million has been expended on tuition fees from January to December 2016. For the period January to December, P97.8 million was spent on student’s allowances. To date the total expenditure of Target 20 000 stands at just over P276million, Molao told Parliament.

Target 20 000 was intended for up-skilling the unemployed youth.  Currently, 4 981 students are enrolled in the programme. The programme was implemented in January 2016 and to date 9,953 unemployed youth benefited. However, 741 dropped out of the programme while 3,094 have completed or graduated.



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