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UB students break ranks with Letsholathebe

Minister-Letsholathebe

University of Botswana Student Representative Council (UBSRC) leader, Prosper Lorato has rejected a decision by Minister of Educations and Skills Development, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe to introduce discount cards to cushion the tertiary students against the rising cost of a living.

Dr Letsholathebe announced this week on national television that tertiary learners across the country shall soon be given discounts on transport fares and groceries. According to the minister, the cards will enable them to get discounts on transport fares and retail outlets when shopping.

“I doubt the minister is speaking the same tone that we are speaking, discount card are not going to alleviate the way we are living in any way because maybe the discounts that we will be given, will be of the  P2. Therefore, I found no change just to keep as quiet as a tactic from the ministry,” Lorato said.

“When students return in August, we will unite and fight this battle together because it seems like the ministry does not hear us even though they try to find reasons for that. P1600 or P1300 are not enough.”

The UB student leader pointed out that the standard of living is high, and they anticipate the increase in transport, food and rent to continue to climb, therefore want the ministry to appreciate this reality and increase their monthly allowance.

“The card is of no value at all because it does not elevate by any other reasonable amount. We want an increase so that even if the money does not sustain me for the whole month, but I can be able to do some things,’ Lorato said.

“All we are asking is P1700, but the ministry can communicate the amount they can be able to afford, not to say they are not doing anything”. He further said allowance was once reduced, the reason being the money was misused, but now the reason they want an increase is that things are expensive. He said all the money finish just buying the essentials, but one ought to go to school and survive each and every day. It is becoming impractical by the day, he said.

“This could affect academics because one could not attend school well due to shortage of money for transport,” he contended. Lorato said he is planning to meet the minister, where they will further discuss the matter.

“We got in a memorandum of agreement that we will be protected as students. We need to adjust on how things are. It is not enough, and you expect me to attend school without any issues, so we need to put the government in that state, so they understand our position,” he said.

“If at all it is tools down, then it will be tools down because I cannot attend school without money. I believe university management should be engaged to intervene because if they intervene they will know that they are losing, so they need to shake the ministry.

“They can talk to the ministry so that the ministry can try to attend this issues, but if they will not get involved, we will be forced to do tools down until all issues are resolved.” Meanwhile, Dr Letsholathebe said there will not be pickup for students anymore. “We are about to start a journey where we have to communicate with parents on ways they can help in educating our children, if a parent started paying tuition for a student, they ought to finish.”

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