Ministry reviews tertiary sponsorship policy

Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mr Fidelis Molao says the ministry is currently reviewing tertiary sponsorship with a view to implement the revised policy during the 2016/17 financial year.

Mr Molao said the policy would inevitably influence the issue of students’ living allowances.

He explained that the ministry paid monthly living allowance of P1 420 to off-campus students and meal allowances of P35.28 per day which translates to P1 058 per month.

He said the government had to bear a huge cost across the education spectrum for every student it sponsored.

Mr Molao added that the increase in cost for tuition, books, equipment and other related resources across all levels of education had been felt by government over time.

He said it was difficult for the ministry to balance the escalating costs of education across the whole spectrum with the increasing student population.

“The review of the tertiary student allowance cannot, therefore, be done in isolation from costs related to the other costs in education,” he said.

Furthermore, he told Parliament that the monthly bill for student allowances only was P50 million and “that was a huge cost and an increase in allowances might imply reduced access to tertiary education.”

In 2007, he said, due to the economic downturn, off campus allowances were reduced by P500 to P1 420. Gaborone North MP, Mr Haskins Nkaigwa had wanted to know when tertiary students’ allowances would be reviewed.

Mr Nkaigwa also wanted the minister to state the off campus allowance for students in tertiary institutions, and how much was given to them as meal allowance per day and per month.