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Nkate’s legacy pays off

FORMER MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Jacob Nkate

Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) Director Eugine Moyo has revealed that government decision to reduce the number of students studying abroad has saved billions of Pula for the tax payer.


Government used to spend an average amount of P3.2 billion annually on Batswana students studying in foreign countries. Before the decision to cut down on the number was reached, there were close to 18 000 students studying in foreign countries. The highest number of 11000 students was based in South African institutions.


Moyo revealed this week that the number of foreign based students currently stands at 8000. He said this means that the amount spent on students studying in foreign countries has reduced significantly in recent years. The decision was taken during Jacob Nkate’s tenure as Minister of Education. The implementation of the policy was accelerated during the time when Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was minister.


The DTEF director revealed this at the official unveiling of BA Isago University (formerly BA Isago University College) as a university after being granted the status by Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA).


Moyo said most students are now placed in local private institutions. In the past foreign institutions based students were spread to South Africa, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Scotland and other countries.


Government started sponsoring students to study in local private institutions in 2006, a decision taken by former President Festus Mogae at the end of 2005. The decision was taken deliberately as a way of reducing the escalating costs of training students abroad.


Consequent to this decision, a regulatory body known as the Tertiary Education Council (TEC) (now Human Resources Development Council) was established to ensure compliance with high quality standards in tertiary and higher education.  


According to Moyo, government spends P400 000 per student studying abroad annually, the fee is inclusive of tuition, accommodation and monthly stipends. Locally, Moyo stated that on average locally, government spends about P35 000 per student covering both tuition and student allowance.


The DTEF Director also revealed that ever since government starting decreasing the number of students studying abroad the number of those being place locally has increased significantly and has allowed government to sponsor more students since the development led to saving of a lot of money.


Currently government has over 48 000 sponsored students and spends a total of about P2 billion per year, which makes the amount significantly less than the bill government spent on foreign based students in previous years.


The decision to cut down the number of students studying abroad was however met with criticism that government could be sacrificing quality at the expense of quantity.


Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) Dr Patrick Mulotsi is of the firm belief that a lot has been done at tertiary education level and it was now time for government to place more emphasis and attention on pre-primary, primary and secondary. “We have realised that we are spending too much money on tertiary education, while the same cannot be said about the lower levels,” he stated.


Molutsi stated that the Education and Training Strategic Sector Plan (ETSSP) which was recently approved by cabinet will deal with improvement of quality of education at lower levels. The Ministry of Education has placed emphasis on; low academic performance at all levels, access and equity to education by all, quality and relevance of education, the alignment of curriculum to the industry needs, educational management, skills development for the economy, lifelong learning, multiple pathways at Senior Secondary level, and professional development, in an effort to turnaround the fortune of the country’s education system.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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