Dtef overrules Parliament on sponsorship

The Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) housed under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) last week invited prospective students to apply for sponsorships for the 2015/2016 academic year. According to the statement made by DTEF director, Eugene Moyo, the cut off point has been increased from the previous 34 points to 36 due to budgetary constraints. DTEF has listed programs it will be sponsoring for both the local private and public tertiary institutions.

The independent investigations conducted by this publication indicate that government will be sponsoring programs that are said to be oversubscribed. According to the statement made in Parliament on the 27th of March 2015 by Okavango legislator, Bagalatia Arone, the following disciplines are oversubscribed: Accounting, Information Technology, Media Studies and Communication, Law, Humanities, Agriculture, Economics, Marketing, Tourism and Engineering especially Mining and Chemical. Arone indicated that he sourced information from Statistics Botswana. In addition, of over 20 000 graduates since 2008 to date, only 6 000 have been employed on a permanent basis by government, parastatals and the private sector. Though the economy of Botswana is said to be saturated with graduates of law, accounting, information technology, tourism and so on, on the other hand, the department of the same government has decided to go ahead and sponsor students for those programs. The issue of skills mismatch between what the students are studying and the needs of the economy has been blamed for the unemployment amongst the graduates. Deliberating on Arone’s statement, the legislators unanimously agreed that government should sponsor students only for programs that the economy is in need of to deal with skills mismatch and unemployment amongst graduates.

DTEF set aside the decision made by Parliament and went on to urge students to apply for those programs so that they can be sponsored. Moyo did not respond to a questionnaire that was sent to him. This publication had sought to understand why DTEF overruled Parliament on the award of sponsorships, what criteria does the department employ to decide on which programs to sponsor and by sponsoring programs already said to be oversubscribed, is government not indirectly contributing to graduate unemployment.