Staff panic as FCE transforms

FRANCISTOWN: The impending Francistown College of Education (FCE) transformation into the northern campus of the Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) appears to have caused panic among staff members as some decry lack of consultation.

The development, which according to the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Kgopotso Ramoroka, is part of the Revised National Policy on Education and will see the college staff being designated to either other colleges or absorbed by in-service Centre campus.

Though Ramoroka claims to have consulted thoroughly with the staff about the impending move, those who spoke to this publication said they felt left out in the consultations. They said though the plan had long been put underway, they only hear about the new developments on hearsay despite the fact that they are affected directly.

“Initially, we knew that no one was going to be affected by this envisaged move because the plan was to relocate the college to a new compound which was to be built, but what we learnt is that there is no longer relocation. What we are asking ourselves currently is what criteria is going to be used to designate the staff to either other colleges or BOCODOL campus because we are not formally informed,” decried some of the employees.

Furthermore, the distressed employees questioned the transformation, insisting that college facilities are worn out and that is why the plan was to relocate the college. “Maybe this decision to make a u-turn on the relocation was fuelled by low numbers of students who have been enrolling in the college. Over the recent years the college has been experiencing dropping numbers of students admission and the government has been complaining that the facility is being underutilized, maybe this is another reason for this transformation,” noted one lecturer.

Addressing a Full Council meeting here last week, Ramoroka remained adamant that all key stakeholders were consulted. “At first the idea was to relocate this college and use the old premises as an education research centre but due to lack of funds, government kept on postponing the construction of the new premises. Last year government resolved to this transformation and negotiations with the college staff is ongoing,” said the Deputy PS, adding that the transformation will affect other colleges because their intakes are going to increase due to the closure of FCE.