|Tertiary institutions see red over cadetship|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 20:27|
Page 1 of 2
Government has released insignificant amounts of money to some tertiary institutions for students on cadetship while some have received nothing, amid fears that the entire amount allocated by Treasury is going to be gobbled by the unpaid debts to tertiary institutions in the country.The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) received US$13 000 a few weeks ago, an amount authorities described as a drop in the ocean considering the amount owed to the institution by the Government.
In an interview with the Sunday News on Thursday, Higher and Tertiary Education Deputy Minister Lutho Paddington Tapela said the money that was allocated for students on cadetship was not enough and was likely going to be used to pay previous years’ debts accrued due to failure by Government to honor its assumed parental obligation.
He could not, however, be drawn into giving the figures of students currently on cadetship and the various amounts that are owed tertiary institutions.
He said the situation was crippling the effective running of the tertiary institutions that were at the receiving end of Government failure.
“The amount that we received from Treasury in the budget is too little. It is only going to pay the debts that are owed tertiary institutions all over the country. And due to failure by Government to pay in time the debts have accrued that the money might as well be inadequate even to clear the debts.
“A number of tertiary institutions are owed varying amounts of money in unpaid fees by Government as it has not been consistent in paying. It sometimes pays and sometimes doesn’t, and this has created an enormous debt that will take time to clear. The allocation by the Finance Ministry has always been delayed and colleges are always complaining about the issue and at one time threatened to expel all the students on cadetship,” he said.
Deputy Minister Tapela said his ministry was just a conduit between the Ministry of Finance and the tertiary institutions in the country adding that as a ministry they were committed to clearing the debts and allow cadetship students to learn without fear of being expelled.
He said it was the Government’s position that students on cadetship should not be expelled for their failure or delay to pay fees as it was not their fault.
“It is not the students’ fault but that of the parent and in this case the parent is the Government, so by threatening to expel the students the institutions will indirectly be threatening the Government. They therefore should quarrel with the ministry and not the student. We are aware however that the debts are crippling the smooth running of the institutions,” he said.
He also called on the Treasury to expeditiously release the amounts for cadetship if they were serious about improving the running of tertiary institutions.
National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Vice-Chancellor Prof Lindela Ndlovu said colleges have always been facing problems in the day to day running of institutions because Government had been reneging on promises to pay the cadetship fees timeously.