The Minister of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), Unity Dow, has applauded Botho University for its innovative ways of encouraging cost sharing in the education sector. Speaking at the launch of Botho University Sponsorship launch on Friday, Dow said this comes at a time when government is also thinking of ways to encourage cost sharing in education with parents of students. The minister said she is aware that cost sharing is a thonry issue for parents but it needs to be addressed as the budget allocation for her minsitry is far from sufficient to cover all operations. “People keep saying the ministry gets a large chunk of the budget, the truth of the matter is the money is not enough,” she said.
She applauded Botho university for coming up with scholarships for deserving students, as this will go a long way to assist government in educating Batswana. Dow explained that the budget for MoESD is approximately P10 billion, of which 58 per cent goes to salaries. The remaining 42 per cent covers subventions and tuitions to all local and external institutions, she said. Dow said currently tertiary students constitute only 20 per cent of students leaving high school. She such innovations will help address the remaining 80 per cent. “If government sponsors only students with 36 points what happens to the rest. If you can buy expensive cars why not postpone buying a car and rather invest in your child's education first?” quizzed Dow.
Botho University Pro Vice Chancellor Ravi Srinivasan said the shcolarships are meant to encourage partnership with parents to augment government efforts. Srinivasan said government alone cannot manage any more as she has been investing a lot on the education of Batswana. “We now have to step in and help government. What we are doing here at Botho is trying to encourage partnerships,” he said. Botho University scholarship programme is structured in a way that parents who are capable to sponsor their children are helped with up to 50% of the tuition fees. The sponsorship which is in the value of 3 million is said to be able to carter for 40 students for the duration of their programmes. Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Lucky Moahi explained that the new sponsorship programme, which started in the current academic year, will be available annually. Moahi said the scholarship covers up to 50 per cent of tuition fees for Botswana nationals who qualify for Botho admission criteria but do not qualify for government sponsorship.
Only one student has been awarded the sponsorship for the current academic year. The first to benefit is young Prince Moatswi after satisfying the requirements. Moatswi who is over the moon about this opportunity said he will now be able to obtain tertiary qualification thanks to Botho University.