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MONTHLY ALLOWANCES: SIGN OR LOSE SCHOLARSHIP, STUDENTS WARNED

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MBABANE – ‘Sign the addendum or have your scholarship agreement invalidated’. This was the message from government to students on the issue of the monthly disbursement of living allowances.

Having tabled an improved offer to tertiary students that entails disbursing E1 690 monthly to off-campus students, government has come out to state that this was their final offer to the students.


University of Eswatini students were getting E9 900 annually in the discarded lump-sum system of disbursement and this amounted to E4 900 per semester for students living off-campus, excluding the E2 000 book allowances which was sent straight to the bookshop.


For those who are staying on campus, they received the same amount but the institution deducted E5 000 to cover accommodation, food and transport and after the deductions, the students were left with E4 000, which is E2 000 per semester. This means the students had an increase of about E7 000 to their newly-improved allowance which will be disbursed in 30 days regular cycles over 10 months from the beginning of the academic year as articulated by government.


Emphasis


To put emphasis on the improved offer being final, tertiary institutions, acting on government instructions, will distribute re-admission forms to the students to sign and failure to comply will result in government revoking their scholarship agreement. In signing the forms, the students will be making an undertaking not to embark on class boycotts, acts of vandalism, theft of property and intimidation of staff and students in future.


This was contained in a press statement from the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) issued by the Registrar, Dr Salebona Simelane, on Tuesday. The institution has since re-opened after two weeks following the suspension of classes on August 26.


The same emphasis was communicated in a statement from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security issued by Principal Secretary Thulani Mkhaliphi on Tuesday, where he said students should note that the study loan award agreements were individual and that government reserved the right to review the agreement if the student was deemed to be directly or indirectly disregarding or disrespecting the loan agreement.


Mkhaliphi also advised students to reciprocate the government gesture by taking education seriously and commit to raising concerns with due regard to laid down procedures and avoid resorting to vandalism, disregard of law and order and taking irresponsible decisions of boycotting classes and at the end losing time on the minimum contact hours they were supposed to have with lecturers, to retain credibility of their training and certificates they would hold on completion of their studies.


Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane minced no words in stating that students, who will not sign the re-admission form which comes with the conditions aforementioned, will have their scholarship agreement invalidated. Simelane maintained what he said two weeks ago, that students could not dictate terms to the loaner but had to comply with what government implemented because it was for the good of the students.


He stated that government could not sit back and watch while its property was being vandalised by students at the institutions and the forms were not to spite them but to instil order.


“We won’t have hooligans engaging in protest marches and vandalising government’s property. As things are, government does not have the money to re-build property that was deliberately vandalised by students and even if we did have the money, it doesn’t give them any licence to vandalise, wreck havoc and leave an ugly sight.


Statement


“We stick by what the Ministry of Labour and Social Security said through their statement. If students choose to not sign the form, the writing is on the wall, they would have their scholarship agreement revoked,” he said.
Simelane said these were realistic conditions that meant no harm but to channel the students to their primary goal which was studying and graduating to get employment.


“We are only looking out for the students because they are the future of the country and we want the best for them. They have to study and attain qualifications so that they can be considered for employment and help in developing the country,” he said. UNESWA students will be receiving the admission forms from this morning and they would also be resuming classes.

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: Scholarship recovery
Do you think the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is ready to take over the scholarship recovery project?