TCE students boycott classes over delayed allowances

FRANCISTOWN: Tonota College of Education (TCE) government-sponsored students have stopped attending lessons over late payment of their monthly allowances.

The students said their allowances were last paid in June. Students mostly affected by the late payment of the allowances are second- and third-year students.

Those in year one have long received their allowances when the school opened last month. College students are given a monthly allowance of P150 to cover their toiletry expenses and a book allowance.

TCE School Representative Council (SRC) member and Minister of Academics, Chanda Mabutho confirmed the boycott to The Monitor.

Mabutho said students are not pleased about the delay in paying their monthly allowance. She confirmed they last received it in June. The failure by the Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) to pay the monthly allowance has clearly angered the students.

“For a while the school management had promised to speed up the process of allowance payments to no avail,” said Mabutho. Mabutho said that last Thursday, students through the SRC office summoned the college management for a meeting and following similar promises they resolved to boycott lessons to illustrate their grievance.

She said the students had resolved not to attend lessons until the matter is resolved. “No matter how little the allowance is, it means a lot to us, as it helps us (students) to process school projects.  We are currently struggling without toiletry,” she said. She said the school management told them that the delay was caused by late submission of student names to the DTEF, to process their payments after the school was opened last month.

Another student who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation told The Monitor that the school management is not taking their grievances seriously.

He stated that they have long been promised their allowances, but to date they have not received anything  and are losing hope that they ever will.

The school management could not to be reached for comment, as the secretary to the college principal said the principal would be attending meetings the whole day. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development principal public relations officer, Silas Sehularo confirmed the payment issue affecting second- and third-year students.

He said that the college management told him that the delay was caused by late submission of student names to DTEF thus the process to pay them was delayed. “I have contacted the two parties (school management and DTEF) who disclosed that the process of payments is ongoing. They promised that very soon the students will receive their monthly and book allowances,” said Sehularo.

He said the college management was engaged with sorting names of repeating and progressing students before they can process their payments.

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