Mbabane: The government of Eswatini has strongly condemned the now habitual abandoning of classes by tertiary students and has announced to have at least paid 90 percent of scholarships.
In a statement issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Security Makhosi Vilakati, the government announced that a total of 3 990 students have been awarded Government scholarships in the current academic year.
Minister Vilakati said 4 421 students applied for Government scholarships to pursue their studies in twelve tertiary education institutions in the country. Out of this, government has already awarded 3 709 and in some inadvertent omissions trickling in the number will increase to 3 990. The remaining number of students are mainly those in oversubscribed programs as well clearly below the set threshold to qualify for government scholarship.
Vilakati added that the government will disburse the personal and book allowances at the end of November 2020 for ongoing students and in December 2020 for the first year students. The allowances will be paid for 10 months effective October 2020.
The government announcement on scholarships and allowances comes shortly after the tertiary students embarked on a number of protest marches and abandoning of classes in a bid to get the government address their grievances. The grievances being mostly the scholarships and allowances.
The students’ strikes have been the heaviest as they have been seen blocking roads, burning tyres on roads and police on the other side were seen shooting students in rubber bullets and firing teargas in a bid to dismiss the protests.
However, the Minister said the government is noting that the disruption of classes and normal learning in the institutions is originated and perpetrated by elements outside student bodies of the affected institutions.