A national tertiary students representative body has written to the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology demanding a review of students' allowances.
The Botswana National Union of Students (BONUS) wants the students’ allowances to be increased from P1,400 to P2,000.
In the letter dated April 10, 2018 addressed to the ministry’s permanent secretary, copied to the Minister, Ngaka Ngaka and his deputy Fidelis Molao, BONUS says that their demand is influenced by the high cost of living.
The letter requested government to review the tertiary students’ living allowances in view of escalating rental costs and the general high cost of living.
They argued that students in tertiary institutions are unable to meet their obligations with the current allowance.
“Students are left with negative balances in their accounts every month because the current allowance is not enough to cover their monthly expenses,” wrote BONUS Treasurer, Tlotlo Madisa.
“The cost of living is high due to increases such as the recent review of the public transport fares, increase in commodities in the past nine years since the allowance was reduced in 2009. Students find it hard to survive,” he added.
The national student body added that other students have resorted to ill measures for survival. Madisa said the letter was written following a resolution taken by student representative bodies of various tertiary institutions in a meeting held earlier this year.
He said the current rate at
“With the recent research, it can be agreed that tertiary students are mostly engaged in criminal activities, engage in sexual activities that lead to high rates of pregnancy in the name of money. The situation has adversely affected students from rural areas who have no relatives nearby. Most of them have dropped out of school because they can’t survive.”
It is not the first time that a call to increase the living allowance for students is made.
In 2014, Okavango legislator, Bagalatia Arone (now Minister of Basic Edication) tabled a motion in Parliament requesting government to review the tertiary students’ living allowances in view of the escalating rental costs and the general high cost of living to reduce stress and promote academic excellence.
The motion by the former Botswana Congress Party member, who has since joined the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, was defeated.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, tertiary students held a peaceful demonstration over the allowances. BONUS had intended to hand a petition over to the Minister Ngaka, but he allegedly refused to receive it saying he was not informed on time.