Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) was abruptly closed on Monday following students’ protests over what they said is management’s failure to address their welfare concerns. It is not clear when the college will re-open for learning as school management is still trying to address the matters that led to the closure.
When addressing the media on Tuesday BCA acting Principal Dr Mataba Tapela said they are working round the clock to have the college open before the end of the semester. Dr Tapela said they are currently in talks with stakeholder on how swiftly and amicably they could address the matter.
He revealed that the students have already lost two weeks of teaching as they started boycotting class last week. This is worrisome to Tapela as the semester is about to end and examinations are to be written but students continue to lose more teaching time. “It is our intentions to have the school re-open before the end of the semester so that we can be able to finish the material this year,” said Tapela.
The college’s closure came after students held demonstrations to protest about their welfare. According to BCA’s Student Representative Council president Mbinganyi Taka students are aggravated by lack of proper addressing of their concerns. The major issue the students are said not to be happy about is the company which has been contracted to cater for them. It is reported that the students are up in arms because the company has from time to time failed to adhere to the agreements.
They complain that the company provide meals very late which forces some students to get to classes late while some go without food. As such they decided to boycott the company demanding that they be given meal allowance so they can buy where they want. Other concerns are the state of the ablution blocks which the students say it is a health hazard. Taka said the facilities are not properly maintained and are not in a good state for use. He pointed out that the school management takes too long to maintain the facilities. Dr Tapela said indeed the maintenance team has confirmed that the students’ complaints are legitimate. He however said some of the complaints were misinformed.