The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, through the Department of Tertiary Education Finance (DTEF) will this year alone sponsor 39 164 students to tertiary institutions.
This is an increase from 35 840 learners who were sponsored during the last financial period.
Minister Douglas Letsholathebe disclosed this recently in Francistown when officiating at the Botswana Human Resources Development Skills Fair and Career clinics.
“This is to demonstrate government’s commitment to education. These figures include 750 students in external placement. During the 2018/19 academic year, 520 students were sponsored to study outside the country,” highlighted Minister Letsholathebe.
The Minister was quick to highlight that Government is still “exploring cost sharing models for funding tertiary education”.
Dr Letsholathebe urged all stakeholders to train graduates whose skills can be traded on the global market and assist in reducing over reliance on diamonds.
“We need to establish an enabling environment that is amendable to digitalisation and manufacturing in order to create more jobs and reduce the import bill and attain the much needed economic diversification.”
The Minister further pointed out that although enrollments in higher education institutions are still skewed towards social sciences, over the past eight years a significant increase for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs has been recorded.
“Between the financial years 2010/11 and 2017/18 there were 8 545 and 25 275 learners enrolled for STEM respectively. While this might seem like a drop in the ocean, it should rather be seen as one of the tributaries towards the knowledge based economy,” continued the Minister.
This year’s Botswana Human Resource Development Skills Fair and Career clinics in Francistown, Maun and Gaborone are held under the theme “Career Guidance: The foundation For Knowledge based Economy”.