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MBABANE – While administrators and lecturers at SCOT play the blame game, students suffer as a machine estimated to be worth around E2 million has not been fixed for over a year.

SCOT is an acronym for the Swaziland College of Technology.
According to sources, the institution has a metal sheet cutting machine that cost government around E2 million which only worked for about six months.

After the machine stopped working, it was never sent for repairs but lies idle in one of the institution’s workshops.
Despite the machine being dysfunctional for over a year, it seems unlikely for it to be repaired, thus renders it of no use to the students.
Some lecturers are alleged to have reported the matter to the administration while the authorities claim it was never reported.

The machine reportedly cuts metallic sheets automatically according to preset dimensions by users, in this case the students.
While it was functional, it was said to have been useful in cutting the sheets at a quick rate and gave out the desired results. Sources said since it broke down, students had to go back to using old tools such as disk grinders which were more manual.

The sources claim that the matter was reported to the college’s authorities but to date nothing has been done about it.
Not only did the sources report this machine’s breakdown but they alleged to have reported other electronic equipment used for welding that mysteriously disappeared after renovations to the same workshop. They said they asked to move the machine during the renovations but were told not to touch anything by the officers from the company that was given the tender.

The sources further shared that there was a workshop meant for technical practicals that had a lot of dysfunctional equipment.
 They argued that the equipment, like the one that cost around E2 million, worked for a few months and broke down but were not returned to the manufacturer for repairs.

They stated that the only use for them now was only lecturing the students about how they work although they were bought for practical work.
“What lecturers do is just show the students the machines but cannot demonstrate to them how they work and how the final product looks like,” the sources said.

It looks like lack of communication could be causing the problems in the institution.
The sources alleged that there was no consultation during the purchasing of equipment and when there was, the suggested machinery was not bought.

They argued that those at administrative level were more in the linguistics and not technical so they needed to consult with lecturers before buying equipment.

They further said another workshop that had to undergo renovations was left in a worse state after the contracted company left.
They said the workshop had a leaking roof which left their metallic machinery rusty.

They said other workstations, including the technical drawing lab did not meet certain requirements because of poor planning.
“They made an example of the lighting requirement in the technical drawing lab.

“Although there are lights, there are also blinds on the windows which block natural light from enhancing it to meet the required standards,” they said.
Reports came as a shock to the former SCOT Principal Dr Grace Mdluli who said the matter was never reported to her.
Mdluli said the problem was that some lecturers knew of these concerns but kept quiet and said that caused more problems.

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