Artisan level graduates from Technical colleges and Brigades are demanding P72 million from government.
From 2013 August, the Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) took a decision to stop sponsoring technical colleges and brigade students.
To rectify the matter, the Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training stepped in and reached an agreement with students to give them P300 monthly allowance and a tool box worth a minimum of P4,000 per student upon completion.
The former Students Representative Council (SRC) president of Gaborone Technical College (GTC) and chairperson of Botswana National Union of Students (BONUS), Moemedi Malesela said during his time he received a clarity letter from DTEF that stated that, intake of 2013 was the last to be sponsored. Out of their concern they took the matter to the Minister of Education and Skills Development who at the time was Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. She agreed to fund students through DVET.
“To our surprise, the first batch to graduate did not receive their P4,000 toolbox. This issue escalated to 2014 as we were trying to get to the bottom of it. Immediately after general elections, we pursued the issue with the new minister and by then it was Mokgweetsi Masisi, the President of today, arguing that P300 was too little to match the lifestyle of our time,” stated Malesela.“Masisi had ambitions to help us address the issue, but before we knew it he was removed from the ministry. We continued to approach the issue with Unity Dow who came in after Masisi. We flooded the ministry with letters to at least continue giving students P300 with a provisional toolbox, of which Dow also agreed to. Every year 3,000 students graduate from technical colleges and brigades and to this date, no graduates has received the toolbox allowance in the last six years, hence the balance having gone up to P72 million.” The chairperson said all the ministers and their assistants and the highest leadership to date – starting with Venson-Moitoi, Masisi, Dow, Alfred Madigele, Ngaka Ngaka and Fidelis Molao – are aware of the issue.
Reached for comment, assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Molao, told The Monitor to check with the Ministry of Employment, Labour, Productivity and Skills Development.
BONUS committee wrote a letter last December to Ministry of Employment, Labour, Productivity and Skills Development of which DVET is under, stating that students should be paid as to the agreement, but they did not receive any response.
“However, I am not included in the toolbox allowance because we were the last students to be sponsored by DTEF,” Malesela said.