Troubled UB not closing down - Dr. Madigele
The troubled University of Botswana (UB) will not close, this is the assurance that Dr. Alfred Madigele, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology gave Parliament on Friday.
It follows UB Vice Chancellor Professor Thabo Fako’s presentation to the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises last month that the institution is going through a difficult time and needs close to P1 billion to survive next year.
Dr. Madigele said his ministry continues to work closely with both the University Council and Management in assisting the institution with operational issues. “Madam Speaker, let me further assure this Honourable House that my Ministry is committed to providing the necessary support to the University in order to enable it to effectively deliver its mandate,” said Dr. Madigele.
Prof. Fako said financial challenges at the institution started four years ago, when the government started reducing the institution’s subvention gradually. He said UB currently requires an amount of P1 billion.
Since government started reducing tertiary sponsorship, UB is one of the institution hard hit by the drastic decision because they rely heavily on government money for their operations.
Dr. Madigele defended, “Madam Speaker, apart from media reports that have painted a gloomy picture about the future of the University, staff of this institution recently petitioned the University Council, expressing their displeasure at the way the institution is being managed.
“I will not get into details with respect to this matter save to say we have been fully briefed by the Council Chairman, who has indicated that the Council takes these issues seriously and they are attending to them with the attention they deserve.”
Last week University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSSU) called on the UB Council to sack Professor Fako. The union made this demand when handing over a petition to the council. Dr. Madigele said barring unforeseen circumstances of the current cash flow at UB, based on the payment of both the subvention and tuition fees, the University should be able to have a surplus at the end of the current financial year projected at around P40 million.