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Tertiary Education: Choices galore

Linkokwing University students at last year's Tertiary Eeducation Fair

Tertiary education is one important detail in anyone’s curriculum vitae which is why this time was taken to try and lure you into the journey of career choosing. There are several universities and other institutions of higher learning. All the tertiary institutions offer a range of programmes including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, as well as Associate degrees and Higher Diplomas.

The education system now empowers citizens to become the best producers of goods and services. It produces entrepreneurs who will create employment through the establishment of new enterprises. Public education is used to raise awareness on life skills, such as self health care.

Waiting for your form 5 results is one frightening experience that most people have had to endure at some point. Well this time around things are a bit easy because there are different tertiary schools that offer different courses and they even showcase themselves at career fairs so there is no need to worry.

All Batswana will have the opportunity for continued and universal education, with options during and after secondary level to take up vocational or technical training as an alternative to purely academic study. Education has been developed in partnership between the public and private sectors.

Years ago everybody knew the University of Botswana as the leading tertiary school in Botswana, everybody wanted to see themselves there. This has however changed over the years with the introduction of 100 percent citizen owned tertiary school (private) like Ba Isago University College and ABM University College and others such as Limkokwing and Gaborone International Professional Studies (GIPS).

These tertiary schools have done enough to boost the educational sphere locally. They actually made things easier for those people with who wish to study other courses besides those ones offered by UB.

Limkokwing came into the industry and introduced study of creativity, media and arts. These are some of the things that makes it different from other universities hence people with interest in ICT world and other discliplines enroll with Limko to make sure that they meet their career demands. Botswana has developed its communication capacity, particularly in the electronic media, radio and television. Batswana are now informed about the rest of the world.

All Batswana have access to the media through national and local radio, television and newspapers. All schools have access to a computer, and to computer-based communications such as the internet. If one wants to join this growing industry then, the best way is to enroll with Limkokwing University.

Apart from Limkokwing, GIPS also has set itself apart from others by offering business related courses only. If one is a Mathematics person then the best way is to get hold of the GIPS management, they will serve you well. Business minds are nurtured and actualised at GIPS.

University of Botswana has always offered a wide range of courses including the study of different languages like French and Chinese lately. In this way we have seen Botswana’s wealth of different languages and cultural traditions being recognized, supported and strengthened within the education system. No Motswana will be disadvantaged in the education system as a result of a mother tongue that differs from the country’s two official languages.

If you prefer accounting, institutions like Botswana Accounting College are for you, those preferring agricultural related courses, your school is just along the A1; Botswana College of Agriculture. All the tertiary schools in Botswana offer programmes that are different.

Studying towards an Associate degree or a higher diploma, which may articulate with a degree course later on, is a popular option. It is also sometimes possible to gain a course transfer from a successfully completed higher diploma or Associate degree into an overseas degree programmes with some credit transfer. Studying hard will help one to earn this privilege.

Now that the results are just around the corner students need to be specific and they have to know what they really want, looking at the market now. Let’s remember that the goal is to get a degree here in Gaborone and not the other way around. Avoid too much “menate”. Universities have seen a lot of students drop out because they have failed a few modules.

This is why it is so important that one chooses a course knowing what they want, not because they see friends choosing such. Good luck to all the students awaiting their form 5 results. Tertiary school life is waiting. Be the best among the best by just giving it 100 percent effort.

Keep in mind  that we now have a variety to choose from, Limkokwing, GIPS, Botho University, IHS, University of Botswana, Baisago University, Realic, ABM University College but to mention a few so take your time and choose wisely.

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13 AUGUST 2022 Publication

12th August 2022

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DIS blasted for cruelty – UN report

26th July 2022
DIS BOSS: Magosi

Botswana has made improvements on preventing and ending arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but significant challenges remain in further developing and implementing a legal framework, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said at the end of a visit recently.

Head of the delegation, Elina Steinerte, appreciated the transparency of Botswana for opening her doors to them. Having had full and unimpeded access and visited 19 places of deprivation of liberty and confidentiality interviewing over 100 persons deprived of their liberty.

She mentioned “We commend Botswana for its openness in inviting the Working Group to conduct this visit which is the first visit of the Working Group to the Southern African region in over a decade. This is a further extension of the commitment to uphold international human rights obligations undertaken by Botswana through its ratification of international human rights treaties.”

Another good act Botswana has been praised for is the remission of sentences. Steinerte echoed that the Prisons Act grants remission of one third of the sentence to anyone who has been imprisoned for more than one month unless the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment or detained at the President’s Pleasure or if the remission would result in the discharge of any prisoner before serving a term of imprisonment of one month.

On the other side; The Group received testimonies about the police using excessive force, including beatings, electrocution, and suffocation of suspects to extract confessions. Of which when the suspects raised the matter with the magistrates, medical examinations would be ordered but often not carried out and the consideration of cases would proceed.

“The Group recall that any such treatment may amount to torture and ill-treatment absolutely prohibited in international law and also lead to arbitrary detention. Judicial authorities must ensure that the Government has met its obligation of demonstrating that confessions were given without coercion, including through any direct or indirect physical or undue psychological pressure. Judges should consider inadmissible any statement obtained through torture or ill-treatment and should order prompt and effective investigations into such allegations,” said Steinerte.

One of the group’s main concern was the DIS held suspects for over 48 hours for interviews. Established under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has powers to arrest with or without a warrant.

The group said the “DIS usually requests individuals to come in for an interview and has no powers to detain anyone beyond 48 hours; any overnight detention would take place in regular police stations.”

The Group was able to visit the DIS facilities in Sebele and received numerous testimonies from persons who have been taken there for interviewing, making it evident that individuals can be detained in the facility even if the detention does not last more than few hours.

Moreover, while arrest without a warrant is permissible only when there is a reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, the evidence received indicates that arrests without a warrant are a rule rather than an exception, in contravention to article 9 of the Covenant.

Even short periods of detention constitute deprivation of liberty when a person is not free to leave at will and in all those instances when safeguards against arbitrary detention are violated, also such short periods may amount to arbitrary deprivation of liberty.

The group also learned of instances when persons were taken to DIS for interviewing without being given the possibility to notify their next of kin and that while individuals are allowed to consult their lawyers prior to being interviewed, lawyers are not allowed to be present during the interviews.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention mentioned they will continue engaging in the constructive dialogue with the Government of Botswana over the following months while they determine their final conclusions in relation to the country visit.

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Stan Chart halts civil servants property loan facility

26th July 2022

Standard Chartered Bank Botswana (SCBB) has informed the government that it will not be accepting new loan applications for the Government Employees Motor Vehicle and Residential Property Advance Scheme (GEMVAS and LAMVAS) facility.

This emerges in a correspondence between Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Boniface Mphetlhe and some government departments. In a letter he wrote recently to government departments informing them of the decision, Mphetlhe indicated that the Ministry received a request from the Bank to consider reviewing GEMVAS and LAMVAS agreement.

He said: “In summary SCBB requested the following; Government should consider reviewing GEMVAS and LAMVAS interest rate from prime plus 0.5% to prime plus 2%.” The Bank indicated that the review should be both for existing GEMVAS and LAMVAS clients and potential customers going forward.

Mphetlhe said the Bank informed the Ministry that the current GEMVAS and LAMVAS interest rate structure results into them making losses, “as the cost of loa disbursements is higher that their end collections.”

He said it also requested that the loan tenure for the residential property loans to be increased from 20 to 25 years and the loan tenure for new motor vehicles loans to be increased from 60 months to 72 months.

Mphetlhe indicated that the Bank’s request has been duly forwarded to the Directorate of Public Service Management for consideration, since GEMVAS and LAMVAS is a Condition of Service Scheme. He saidthe Bank did also inform the Ministry that if the matter is not resolved by the 6th June, 2022, they would cease receipt of new GEMVAS and LAMVAS loan applications.

“A follow up virtual meeting was held to discuss their resolution and SCB did confirm that they will not be accepting any new loans from GEMVAS and LAMVAS. The decision includes top-up advances,” said Mphetlhe. He advised civil servants to consider applying for loans from other banks.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry, SCBB Chief Executive Officer Mpho Masupe informed theministry that, “Reference is made to your letter dated 18th March 2022 wherein the Ministry had indicated that feedback to our proposal on the above subject is being sought.”

In thesame letter dated 10 May 2022, Masupe stated that the Bank was requesting for an update on the Ministry’s engagements with the relevant stakeholder (Directorate of Public Service Management) and provide an indicative timeline for conclusion.

He said the “SCBB informs the Ministry of its intention to cease issuance of new loans to applicants from 6th June 2022 in absence of any feedback on the matter and closure of the discussions between the two parties.”  Previously, Masupe had also had requested the Ministry to consider a review of clause 3 of the agreement which speaks to the interest rate charged on the facilities.

Masupe indicated in the letter dated 21 December 2021 that although all the Banks in the market had signed a similar agreement, subject to amendments that each may have requested. “We would like to suggest that our review be considered individually as opposed to being an industry position as we are cognisant of the requirements of section 25 of the Competition Act of 2018 which discourages fixing of pricing set for consumers,” he said.

He added that,“In this way,clients would still have the opportunity to shop around for more favourable pricing and the other Banks, may if they wish to, similarly, individually approach your office for a review of their pricing to the extent that they deem suitable for their respective organisations.”

Masupe also stated that: “On the issue of our request for the revision of the Interest Rate, we kindly request for an increase from the current rate of prime plus 0.5% to prime plus 2%, with no other increases during the loan period.” The Bank CEO said the rationale for the request to review pricing is due to the current construct of the GEMVAS scheme which is currently structured in a way that is resulting in the Bank making a loss.

“The greater part of the GEMVAS portfolio is the mortgage boo which constitutes 40% of the Bank’s total mortgage portfolio,” said Masupe. He saidthe losses that the Bank is incurring are as a result of the legacy pricing of prime plus 0% as the 1995 agreement which a slight increase in the August 2018 agreement to prime plus 0.5%.

“With this pricing, the GEMVAS portfolio has not been profitable to the Bank, causing distress and impeding its ability to continue to support government employees to buy houses and cars. The portfolio is currently priced at 5.25%,” he said.  Masupe said the performance of both the GEMVAS home loan and auto loan portfolios in terms of profitability have become unsustainable for the Bank.

Healso said, when the agreement was signed in August 2018, the prime lending rate was 6.75% which made the pricing in effect at the time sufficient from a profitable perspective. “It has since dropped by a total 1.5%. The funds that are loaned to customers are sourced at a high rate, which now leaves the Bank with marginal profits on the portfolio before factoring in other operational expenses associated with administration of the scheme and after sales care of the portfolio,” said the CEO.

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