Education Needs P16b

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FRANCISTOWN: Despite being allocated P11 billion this financial year, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Richard Matlhare said that they need a further P5.2 billion.

The money needed, Matlhare said would address a shortage of various resources in schools, taking the total ministry allocation to P16.2 billion.

Addressing the ministry’s regional management team in Francistown, Matlhare observed that there is great shortage of books, especially at junior secondary schools and of classrooms and staff housing.

He said that for a while now some schools have been attending lessons in tents because the ministry does not have money to build extra classrooms.

He also said that P203 million went to cover overtime payments this financial year.  He said that the ministry has now come up with measures to reduce overtime payments to teachers.

 Matlhare added that they have decided to cut down on sport trips due to budget constraints. He added that the ministry has also had to cut down on food rations offered to students as well as suspend purchasing of new cars.

He said that the ministry was given P11 billion by government to use this financial year, which is not enough to handle the demands. He added that the ministry also uses 50 percent of its budget for salaries, P2.3 billion for financing of parastatals such as the University of Botswana (UB), Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL).

After those commitments, he said, the ministry is left with only 1.5 percent to run the operations.

“This 1.5 percent is also not enough,. That’s why in November and February we went to Parliament requesting extra money,” said Matlhare. He added that the sum of P195 million was used to pay for the ministry’s utilities and its staff whilst it had initially budgeted only P80 million for that.

“The headquarters’ water supply system was cut off four times last year because we did not have money to pay the Water Utilities Corporation,” he said.

Matlhare explained that there was promotion of school heads from D3 to D1 that was carried out without budget, which negatively impacted on the ministry’s coffers.

He further noted that the ministry is faced with a backlog of promotions, which requires a lot of money for approval that they do not have.

Matlhare said that they are currently working on ways to deal with teachers who have stayed for a long time in one school. “Some people have over-stayed for 13 to 14 years in one place and is one of the major concerns that teachers complain about daily,” he said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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