Education Minister underscores communication between management and students
Dated : 24.02.2017
The Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele, has underscored the importance of communication in conflict resolution following days of student disturbances that led to a decision by the Chairman of the University of Botswana Council to temporarily close the University from the 9 February, 2017 to the 5 March, 2017 with the view to bring stability and protect property.
The Minister said this after he went around campus on the 10th February 2017 to assess the situation after students went on rampage destroying institutional property and posing a security risk to members of staff and the public. Areas affected included the bookstore, restaurants and other property. Key to the students complaints was late payment of living allowances and prices at the campus bookstore.
The Chairman of the University Council acting in terms of Sections 10(2)(d) and 12(6) of the University of Botswana Act (Cap. 57:01) took a decision to declare the situation an emergency necessitating the closure of the University to avert further and irreparable damage to property and possible injury to persons. In addition, the decision was taken in order “to [bring] the …crisis and instability under control,” said a statement from the chairman, Mr Parks Tafa.
Dr Madigele, welcomed the decision to close the University. He said it was necessary for all stakeholders in the education sector to engage each other from time to time on issues of mutual interest and to communicate information on time. He further implored tertiary intitutions to educate and appraise students on payment processes to avoid misunderstandings that might lead to conflict.
The Minister said following the student demonstrations, his Ministry would now engage all relevant stakeholders and tertiary institutions through their management and Student Representative Councils to relay important information to students which he regretted was sometimes withheld by officials.