Employers in Botswana complainthat most graduates comeout of school half baked andnot ready for work. This move led theGovernment to introduce its controversialinternship programme, which is intendedto prepare graduates for work.In a new twist , The Department of TertiaryEducation Financing (DTEF) lastweek issued a Public Notice indicatingthat the following infractions constitutesa breach of contract and may leadto termination of sponsorship withoutnotice; Employment while under sponsorship,Part-time studies, Failure toattend classes, Failure to submit resultsafter every semester.
In an interview with The Gazette,DTEF Director Marcus Maedza saidstudents sign a full time study contractwhich does not allow anytimefor any income generating jobs, butattachments in line with their studies.Maedza said the Government wants tobe the sole boss of the student to avoidconfl icting situations.The Director also said the procedureis standard across all Government entitiesthat the Government be givenpriority in everything. Maedza alsoemphasized that all those students whoare currently employed will lose theirsponsorship if his department fi nds out.For his part, Botho University StudentReprehensive Council (SRC)President, Kenneth Nelson said themove is unfair to students as the costof living surpasses the monthly allowancethey receive hence a need to workfor extra cash. Nelson said the Governmentdoes not care about welfare of thestudents as it has failed to help themget affordable accommodation andalso disregarded them when giving outthe recession allowance to workers.
He said they will take the matter to theMinister as a collective after dealingwith the Limkokwing issue.University of Botswana SRC PresidentKago Mokotedi slammed the Government for not having the interestsof the youth at heart. Mokotedisaid the Government should at least allowstudents to work during vacationsas their living allowance is insuffi cient.He also said allowing students to workwhile still at school will leave no needfor what he termed “the internship nonsense”.Mokotedi also said they will dowhat it takes as students to litigate theclause which appears in their sponsorshipcontracts. “If it means going tocourt, we will do exactly that,” he said.
Head of Career Services at BothoUniversity Sylvia Buzwani said it isimportant for students to get attachments,employment or internship as itprepares them for the workplace. “Astudent with some form of work experienceafter graduating will fi t wellas they know what is required at theworkplace unlike the one who will justbe fresh from the classroom.”Buzwani said as long as students gettheir priorities right, working whilestudying won’t affect students’ performancenegatively adding that theycannot spend all their time studying.