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‘Is this a joke?
‘Is this a joke?
SRC REPS: Keaikitse, Makolobe, Lorato, Matsieng, Monageng (L-R)

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‘Is this a joke?

  • SRC representatives struggle to understand student discount cards

Minister of Education and Skills Development, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe has hinted that they are currently working on issuing tertiary students with cards that would them to get discount on transport and retail outlets.

With the cost of living continuing to hike, tertiary school students had initially proposed a 35% allowance increment which has not materialized thus far.

On Campus students who are currently earning a stipend P1300.00 a month had proposed an increase to P1700.00 while Of Campus students who receive P1600.00 allowance had proposed that it be increase P2200.00.

The Voice Team spoke with a few Students Representatives Council (SRC) representatives who felt that the discount card was not enough as the cost of living has constantly increased in the past few months.

THEO MONANENG (BOTSWANA ACCOUNTANCY COLLEGE [BAC] SRC PRESIDENT)

I think the idea makes sense to a certain extent but they were just trying to please us with something that is not tangible. We requested an allowance increment to deal with various issues we are facing on a daily basis.

The minute they said they are going to give us these cards to get discounts across different service providers; you could see the minister was embarrassed to mention the percentage of the discount which I think he knows would not make sense.

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They need to find a way to increase student allowance, they should not find reasons to run away from the pertinent topic because students are failing to make ends meet.

They will continue to seek financial help from immoral acts that I am even embarrassed to talk about. The government must find a way to aid the youth of this country as we have seen in many occasions money being wasted on unnecessary things and that should stop.

GILBERT MATSIENG (BA ISAGO UNIVERSITY SRC VICE PRESIDENT)

I believe it’s a great development to bring in the tertiary students discount cards and it will benefit both the students and the retail outlets that would agree to partner with government.

However even though the discount card is tipped to help the student’s welfare, it will do very little to cushion us against the soaring costs that we incur because I do not think the discount offered will exceed 10%.

However, if this is not one of their many strategies to try to delay the discussion of allowance increment then yes they can pull this off. They have the capacity to do so. The problem is we no longer have faith in them now.

CARL KEAIKITSE (BOTSWANA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSISITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY [BIUST] SRC VICE PRESIDENT)

Let me start by noting that inflation did not only affect transport and retail outlets, but let us also take into consideration that there are students who are paying rent, paying supplementary examinations.

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Moreover, we are all aware that some of us use the allowance to support families, and these students cards were long proposed, but the Ministry is only responding after realizing allowance increment has now become a burning issue.

If that Is what they intended to do they could have long given us a report to clearly show that they are working on it, getting a response now is a clear indication that they want to divert attention from the real issue.

How is the student card going to be used? Have public transporters and retail shops been engaged already, it is obvious that some will not accommodate such?

I do not believe this initiative will solve students issue at hand.

GOABAONE MAKOLOBE (BOTSWANA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES [BUAN] SRC PRESIDENT)

Although this is a welcome development in cushioning the effects of inflation for the student community, the idea needs to be well unpacked. These subsidies are said to cover transport and some retail shops.

There are so many unanswered questions such as the percentage of the discounts, accommodation rentals for off-campus students and will these service providers agree to the said discounts, taking into consideration the continued hike of fuel prices.

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PROSPER LERATO (UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA [UB] SRC PRESIDENT)

This initiative will not alleviate our problem of poor standard of living, it will only allow us to make an insignificant saving in our meagre allowance.

I think the only thing that can help us is to increase the allowance because in most cases you will find that some students pay rent which amounts to P1000.00 and they will be left with only P600.00 for food and transport and does not augur well for a student’s life.

The only sensible thing that the government must do to help us is to increase the allowance.

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