The Minister of Education and Skills Development Pelonomi Venson –Moitoi recently announced that there will be no allowance increment.
This obviously did not go down well with most tertiary education students. Things are just too expensive, nowadays one can spend over P600 just buying breakfast food and a few toiletries. What about lunch and supper, clearly if a student is expected to do well in school they need to eat three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and supper, kana jang bafetu? We just can’t study well when hunger has taken over.
I do understand that money is also being used to sponsor those who have been rejected by the University and other institutions like B.A.C.
Sometimes I feel like the ministry is setting the bar too low for entry to tertiary. The ministry must make it clear that it will only sponsor students who are serious with their studies, then maybe people will get serious. So if you fail or have not passed enough, looking at the nations pass rate, then you won’t get sponsored. This will mean money will be available to increase allowances of those who deserve it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that certain people don’t deserve to be sponsored by the government. I’m just saying standards should be set high for entry into tertiary institutions because if every Jack and Jill gets accepted then the institution will certainly receive no respect. Take for instance Havard University, it’s a hustle to get accepted there, go kgaphiwa sethito (you really have to work hard to be accepted). So why not do the same here, not just the University but all other tertiary institutions.
I spoke to some tertiary students on how they survive with their monthly allowances and this is what they had to say…
Katlego Pilane : University of Botswana Student
Are you an on campus student? No.
How much is your allowance? P1420.00
Is your allowance enough? It’s not enough because expenses like transport, lunch, toiletries including clothing exceed the money that we get because when we come to the university our parents no longer support us. They think that the allowance we get is enough to carry us through. Another major problem is that students can’t even save to buy laptops which are essential for school assignments and projects. Because of this we end up spending more money at the internet café and all because the school computers are not at all enough for all of us
Wame Moshokgo: BAC student
Do you live on campus? Yes
How much is your allowance? P150.00
Is it enough? Not at all, I rely on my parents to help me out. P150 can’t even cover the toiletries that I need. It’s only enough for airtime and transport when going to town to buy a few things. The most frustrating thing is that we are forced to eat at the university because we would have paid for the food even when we don’t want to.
Pako Sebitla: University of Botswana student
Do you live on campus? Yes
How much is your allowance? P1200.00
Is it enough? It’s not enough because now days everything is expensive. We have to buy food and toiletries and during mid-month when we run out of food some of us just stay in our rooms and not go for lessons because we cannot attend classes on hungry stomachs. We can’t even get clothes for ourselves, unless we get extra money from our parents. Some kids end up getting sugar mommies and daddies to help them in these tough situations.