The acting minister of education Mokgweetsi Masisi said he was sad when addressing the students of Tonota College of Education (TCE) on Tuesday during their peaceful demonstration.
Some of the grievances by students are lack of hot water in their ablutions, the dilapidated deep freezer, damaged sockets in their ablution, unpaid school allowance for the month of July and August and the list goes on. Masisi said Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Tonota South parliamentary candidate Thapelo Olopeng and Tonota South East BDP council candidate Baemedi Medupi first alerted him of the students’ grievances.
“I came on a sad note. When I was told about the state of the college by Olopeng and Medupi I thought the college management would have solved the students’ grievances but was worried after being called by students to come and address them regarding the same grievances,” he said. However he said before the visit he called the college’s principal to caution him of the students` grievances and told him that if the situation remains that way he would visit the college.
However as the situation was not solved he saw it fit to come and assist. Masisi who arrived in the college at 0900hrs later addressed students at 0230hrs. He said the reason he took that long was because he was having a sincere discussion with the college management. “The problems you are going through worry us in a significant way and they are totally not acceptable,” he said. “They should be rectified within a short period of time and during my discussion with the management they have given me a timeline for them to be solved which I will be closely monitoring,” said Masisi who added that if their grievances are not addressed they should first be passed through the district commissioner who can later contact him. However Masisi did not rule out his direct contact by students as he told them that he had given his contact number to the Student Representative Council (SRC) president who can call him if ever their grievances are taking forever to be solved.
“I have the SRC president’s number and he has mine and I will keep a close contact on monitoring the situation,” he said to the applause of the students as he also warned them not to lose sight of their goal, which he said strives towards an Educated and Informed nation, which is one of the pillars of the vision 2016. He told students to cooperate during the solving of their grievances adding that some of the issues which affected the self-sponsoring students will be later resolved in headquarters. According to information reaching Northern Extra from the SRC minister of finance Ndiane Otshepo the college came up with a cost recovery policy whereby students were no longer allowed to pay their tuition fee in installments. This he noted was a hard blow for some of the students who had to pack their bags to go and seek money despite having paid some part of the tuition fee. The sad part of the policy Otshepo said was implemented without first consulting with the students.