Towards the end of 2012, the Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) invited applications for reinstatements, repeats, retakes and resits for June 2013/2014 to August 2013/2014 cycle. Students applied in huge numbers after being admitted in different tertiary institutions only to be told they won’t be sponsored just when processing of their sponsorships was expected to begin. The issue did not go well with the students and other concerned parties.
The University of Botswana (UB) students recently attempted to petition the Education and Skills Development Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi but were denied a permit to do so by the Botswana Police Service. After being denied the permit, students tried to go ahead with the march and ended up clashing with the police on their way to MoESD offi ces. Tiro Diepo, Student Representative Council (SRC) Vice President told The Gazette in an interview that they re-applied for the permit which he said they were denied because the Ministry officials claimed they did not receive any notifi cation that the students will be bringing the petition. Diepo said they re-applied mid last week and are expecting to march to the Ministry on Thursday and Friday, shall they be granted the permit.
The Vice President said even though the petition is spearheaded by UB students, they would like to engage with students from other tertiary institutions and all interested parties on the matter. He said UB is at the forefront because it is the mostaffected as the University has more students fail and discontinue than any other institution in the country. Asked about contents of the petition, Diepo said they are requesting the Ministry to supplement DTEF budget so that the sidelined students could be sponsored.
“We want the Ministry to request the unspent P1 billion be given to DTEF to sponsor the students since the reason availed for not sponsoring students is because there is no money while the same Ministry returned such a huge amount of cash.” In June, DTEF announced that “for the 2013 Placement Cycle; repeat, retake, reinstatement and resit sponsorships will only be granted to completing students who have not benefi tted from the same before: those left with no more than two semesters to graduate.
This does not include students who sat for their fi nal examinations in April/ May 2013 and failed some modules; Progression Applicants have been deferred to the next sponsorship cycle. Assessment of applications will be done in line with sponsorship guidelines. However, those who have already applied and qualify will be given priority when progression sponsorship is granted.”