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Student allowance insufficient

The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology has admitted that the current amount being paid to tertiary students as living allowance was insufficient given the cost of living that students had to contend with.

Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Mr Fidelis Molao noted that while the living allowance had been reduced from P1 920 to P1 420 per month, the decision was not an indication that students were being given enough, but was rather due to budgetary constraints arising from the effects of the economic recession.

Mr Molao, however, stated that only off-campus allowance was reduced while on-campus allowance had remained the same with students not being provided with meals by institutions continuing to receive P1 208 per month and those being provided with meals getting P150 per month to cater for toiletries.

Nonetheless, he explained that living allowances were reviewed in 2018 and that the current rates which effected in July last year, resulting in off-campus launch being raised to P1 620 and on-campus with self-catering increasing to P250.

He said the ministry could not reinstate the previous off-campus allowance rates because of budgetary constraints.

He indicated that the ministry currently disbursed around P50 million on a monthly basis as payment for the monthly living allowance, adding that on an annual basis, all the allowances amounted to around P730 million out of the allowances budget of P780 million for the 2018/19 financial year.

This, Mr Molao said, amounted to around 30 per cent of the total budget allocated for tertiary education financing, indicating further that it was worth noting that an amount of P50 million then remained to be used for the allowances of externally placed students. Mr Molao, in addition, stated that the budget allocation for the 2019/20 financial year for tertiary education financing was P2.2 billion reflecting a reduction of P192.7 million or eight per cent of the allocation.

He said as a result of the budget cut, it was impossible to consider any increase to students’ living allowance without a possible reduction in the number of students under government sponsorship.

He, however, noted that while reducing the number of students being sponsored was counter-productive, Parliament had the prerogative to allocate more funding for tertiary education financing so that allowances could be increased while at the same time availing sufficient funds to sponsor more students.

Gaborone Central MP Dr Phenyo Butale had asked the minister whether there were any plans to revise tertiary students’ allowances which had remained stagnant for many years. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : Apr 14 Sun,2019

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