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DTEF playing with a powder keg

Local tertiary students at University of Botswana (UB) and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) are in class boycotts this week due to welfare issues in a bid to send home a message to authorities.

The class boycotts are mainly over issues such as delayed processing and crediting of allowances by Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF), accommodation and sponsorship extensions.

Quite regrettably, the feud between the students and DTEF is a common occurrence every year, more especially around this time of the academic calendar. Every year, especially the beginning of a semester, students have to exert some form of force or demonstration to coerce DTEF to release their allowances that are credited very late, sometime even a month after the semester had began. The late payments seem to have become a habit to the DTEF, although it is not right at all as it is an unwarranted inconvenience to the students.

In what could be a nasty part of the situation, earlier this year, some UB students were also detained by the police for allegedly locking the gates of DTEF demanding answers over delayed crediting of their allowances.

While DTEF’s laxity impacts badly on the students’ academic performance and the country’s image, there seems to be no change in sight or improvement on the part of the department.

DTEF must change its attitude in order to correct the situation. Management must introspect to find out whether it is doing enough to serve students. Otherwise the country will one

day wake up to a serious problem of student uprising just over mere payment of allowances. With the huge intake of students at tertiary level, the situation could get uncontrollable- a powder keg of some sort.  

While DTEF blames delays on registration by some institutions, we are of the view that the department must ensure there is constant communication between it and the institutions for the former to avoid such delays.  Honestly, the department’s take on the issue cannot be true because classes commence once all students have registered. That’s when DTEF must push schools to submit students lists for the department to credit their allowances. 

Otherwise, we read mischief on the part of DTEF because the department has a reputation of notoriety for laxity particularly in processing allowances for students. After all, there have been allegations in the past that some officials at the department are under surveillance by security personnel after the department instituted an internal audit to investigate allegations of fraud, nepotism and corruption in the awarding of scholarships for tertiary education financing.

The DTEF management must act and find a permanent solution to the problems and stop hiding behind late student registration.

Today's thought

"Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem"





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