- Students continue to be denied certificates or testimonials on account of debts owed to the school
- Minister claims ignorance to the allegations
The Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) is seemingly defying its own directive to withhold certificates, testimonials and admission letters from students on account of debt owed to their schools after certain senior secondary schools in turn withheld letters of admission letters from some students.
The controversial directive dates back to 2010 and relates outstanding school fees, loss of books and other debt that students may have incurred in the course of years of their junior secondary education.
According to the directive, names of owing students and other relevant information relating to their debt should be forwarded to the senior secondary school that the students are due to proceed to.
However, in spite of this directive, it has emerged that some of junior secondary schools are still demanding the students to pay before being given what they need. It has come to The Botswana Gazette’s attention that recently ahead of the new form four school opening, the students proceeding to senior schools were denied their particulars on account of debts owed.
Among other schools accused of denying the students what they want on account of debts include Mmei, Selolwe as well as Montsamaisa Junior Secondary Schools. Those who talked to this publication alleged that the school management demanded them to clear their debts before they could be assisted.
According to the students, the schools claimed ignorance to the 2010 directive that resulted in the intervention of Member of Parliament (MP) for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane. “I can confirm that recently ahead of commencement of form four in senior school, I and some colleagues were denied our certificates and testimonials because of different debts. Some of us were told to go and bring parents in order for us to get help,” the students revealed to this publication.
The MP has since confirmed assisting some students who were denied help on account of debts. The MP said that the problem seems to be happening to students countrywide. “It seems like many schools are still denying students their belongings just because they have debts in school. In 2010 following public outcry, the ministry directed schools to stop denying students what they need on account of debts. Judging by the calls we received at my office some schools have ignored the 2010 ministry’s directive,” Moswaane said.
Responding to The Botswana Gazette enquiries, the Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao claimed ignorance to the allegations. “I am not aware of any student who have been denied their results, certificates on account of debt to the school because the directive to schools is clear on what should be done when a student owes,” Molao stated.