Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele has recently told the Tertiary Education Financing Pitso recently that the current tertiary education funding model used by government is not sustainable.
Madigele told the Pitso organised by the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) that Botswana, like many other countries face the challenge of tertiary education financing occasioned in part by what he called “massification”: a massive increase in tertiary education enrolment; ever increasing costs; equally important competing priorities and dwindling financial resources.
The minister however highlighted government’s obligation as envisaged by the Vision 2016 Pillar of an “Informed and Educated” and Pillar 2 of the recently launched Vision 2036: “Human and Social Development” which highlights that education and skills are the basis for human resource development.
“Government has traditionally been the sole sponsor of tertiary education students. We have provided loans and grants to students to cover both tuition and students’ upkeep. In addition, the Government provides 100% funding to the public tertiary institutions to meet both their recurrent and development expenditure,” he said.
“The sponsorship evolved overtime from a bursary to a grant/loan scheme where beneficiaries were expected to contribute towards the cost of their training through recovery.”
Madigele explained that in 1995, under the bursary scheme, sponsorship was availed to everyone and graduates were expected to pay 5% of their initial salary at the time they started, tied to the duration of the programme. Whereas under the grant/loan scheme, sponsorship was availed to all those who completed senior secondary school and could find admission to local public tertiary institutions.
“Need I point out at this juncture that our recovery efforts have not been the best and I think I will be correct to say we could be having amongst our mist here, individuals who still have not paid back. In addition, Government provides 100% funding to the public tertiary institutions to meet both their recurrent and development expenditure,” he noted.
He said although those who could find admissions in private institutions had to sponsor themselves in the past, in 2007 government took a deliberate decision to sponsor students to private tertiary education institutions.
“As a result of this initiative, the total number of students both at public and private institutions who were sponsored by Government increased substantially,” he stated.
“While all this is desirable, it is not sustainable in view of other competing demands on Government and in light of the declining government revenues over the past five years.”
He remarked that financing tertiary education and the challenges it poses for governments have lately become a topical issue around the world.
“The search for better strategies for financing tertiary education has thus become a subject of wide discussions at forums involving international organizations among others, UNESCO, IMF, OECD and The World Bank,” he highlighted.
Madigele noted that the issue of tertiary education financing in the case of Botswana becomes a challenge in view of the ever-growing numbers of secondary school graduates who seek to access tertiary education.
The Tertiary Education Policy (2008) set the tertiary participation target for the 18 – 24 year olds for 2025 at 25% from the 11.4% rate in 2007/8. Madigie, who is also Member of Parliament for Molapowabojang/Mmathete said considering the projected senior secondary school output at 30 points minimum entry grade for tertiary, it is possible that enough numbers could be raised to meet the 25% target.
“Given the challenges I mentioned earlier, the question that immediately follows,, however distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,, is: “whether Can the Government as the current sole sponsor of tertiary education can sustainably afford to pay for the continually increasing numbers”? he asked rhetorically.
Madigele expressed concern that the HRDC reports the total number of BGCSE and equivalent examinations graduates is projected to increase overtime.
“The challenge we face now is to diversify our tertiary education is to ensure optimality and sustainability of tertiary funding sources while pursuing the goals of increased access, equity and improved quality in the country’s tertiary education system,” he said.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.