Business Botswana (BB) has expressed shock over the decision by GIPS, an institution of higher learning, to announce suspension of staff without pay for the month of April.
BB’s Education Sector Coordinator, Golekanye Setume said he did not know how the institution reached the decision while it was never discussed.
“We cannot comment much on the decision as GIPS did not consult us and we do not know how it reached the decision. Most of the institutions get payments from the government at the beginning of the semesters, and the public expects that there is no problem paying employees. We will be waiting to hear what led GIPS to the decision,” he said.
Mmegi has since been reliably informed that Botswana Association of Private Tertiary Education Providers (BAPTEP) has equally been shocked and has since written to GIPS seeking answers on the matter.
Though Odirile Gabasiane of Ba Isago expressed ignorance of the letter, he however said his institution will be paying staff full salaries and any development in the coming months would be discussed with stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Tertiary Education Minister Dr Douglas Letsholathebe said he was shocked by the development. “We expect all those who can to help the government during these trying times, we do not know how they arrived at the decision, but we pay institutions at the start of the semester. I will wait for a report to my table and be able to make a comment,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from GIPS management
Still on tertiary education, Setume said they were concerned about total closure of schools and want learning to continue using technology. Setume said they continued to advocate for home learning, as time lost due to the Coronavirus will deal students a blow.
“We are continuously advocating for a way to ensure that students, especially in tertiary institutions continue learning from home. This is very possible as we have been seeing even primary schools in some instances giving students through parents collecting at schools. Our tertiary institutions are capable of providing learning online,” he said.
Setume said they were worried that the time that would be lost due to the virus cannot be estimated and will not return. He said it was thus that they have even opted to engage telecommunications companies to help provide Internet so that students can access their institutions websites.
However, Letsholathebe said they could not have an umbrella directive for learning to continue, as that would give advantage to certain institutions and students who have the means. He however said it is encouraged where possible that students continue to learn.