- 394 out of 5000 targeted applied
- Only 74 enrolled
The controversial Graduate Volunteer Scheme (GVS) which was introduced to absorb graduates has failed to reach its target, a little over a year later.
While the initial target for the envisaged youth empowerment scheme was 5000, only 74 graduates were enrolled, while 320 are on the waiting list. The scheme which was introduced in 2015, was established to among other things facilitate skills development and to promote volunteerism as a means of absorbing idle graduates.
GVS, which provides participants a living allowance of P600, came under criticism after it was introduced, with stakeholders saying it was exploitative. Ever since it was established, a total of 394 people applied, well below the targeted 500, while only a handful have been enrolled, the rest are said to be on the waiting list.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng however recently tried to underplay the implication of these statistics. “The program is voluntary therefore the young people could choose not to enroll. It is not feasible to ascertain the satisfaction of the youth engaged in the scheme since no programme evaluation has been undertaken as yet,” he told a local publication.
While Olopeng is yet to respond to enquiries by this publication, Francistown West MP Ignatius Moswaane said the scheme portrays graduates as destitute, and that it needs to be reviewed.“ I am calling for the government to increase this P600 to be at least P1400. I understand that our economy is ailing but a degree holder cannot be paid P600,” he said.
Moswaane also called for graduates enrolled in the scheme to be afforded flexibility so that they look for jobs at the same time.
Opposition Chief Whip in parliament, Wynter Molotsi echoed Moswaane’s sentiments, saying GVS is ineffective, “This initiative has never worked and I think the government has long stopped because ever since the first enrollment it is quite about the program.”