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Students give Minister Ngaka first litmus test

Botswana National Union of Students (BONU) and tertiary Student Representative Councils’ (SRCs) efforts to lead a peaceful protest to deliver a petition to newly appointed Tertiary Education Minister, Ngaka Ngaka, demanding allowance increment, were thwarted by police this week Wednesday.

Thousands of students had turned up for the march that began at the GSS grounds, but they would never reach Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Ministry Headquarters as Botswana Police Services refused to give them leeway. Students allowances are currently P1420 and the union and the SRCs want it increased to P2 000.

BONUS has told this publication that the union had written a letter to minister Ngaka to which a response, acknowledging receipt of the same was sent to the union. The response however did not give clear response regarding the subject matter. “We have written to the Minister asking him to consider increasing the students’ living allowances and indeed the ministry got back to us, acknowledging receipt but with no further details whether our proposal is accepted or not. We expected the minister to respond in an engaging manner but that is not the case,” Secretary of BONUS Tebogo Mmolotsane said.

According to the union, there is need to increase students allowances as students are not able to meet their needs on the current measly P1420, particularly following the hike in public transport fare. In an interview, University of Botswana SRC president Mpho Molokwane said it is very important for SRCs and students from various tertiary institutions to raise awareness and send a message to the new minister who will face stern tests just like other previous ministers on issues pertaining to students’ welfare and living.

Molokwane is of the view that issues affecting students should be tackled accordingly by all stakeholders and therefore the minister needs to take demands presented to his office by student leaders a bit more serious. He further revealed that the plan will be taken further despite efforts by the minister not to consider it a matter of urgency. He added: “This is just the beginning and this will go on until the minister brings something on board, we have worked with the former minister [Madigele] and he resolved every matter we engaged him on in a resolute manner so Ngaka should do as well.”

Quizzed on whether it was not too early to make overwhelming demands on the minister who has just assumed office, one SRC leader said “It is not an issue of being new in office as this matter has been raised long before to other former ministers and what Ngaka should do is to continue with the issue by engaging SRCs as stakeholders. He has taken oath to work and we are not expecting any excuses which have no direction”.

This publication has gathered that minister Ngaka had in fact specified that on the day stipulated for delivery of the petition, his office was not prepared to receive it, as he is still new in office. He also said the matter was still in the hands of the Permanent Secretary and he would only deal with it after it is passed to his office from the PS. For their part, the police indicated that they were only involved to keep order and ensure that things were conducted peacefully and not to necessarily frustrate the students’ efforts to reach the minister’s office.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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