Varsity in serious cash squeeze

Varsity in serious cash squeeze

MASERU -THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) Senate says the institution is facing a serious financial squeeze that could force it to shut its doors until the government injects more funds.
In a statement released this week, the NUL Senate raised alarm over what it said was the “deteriorating financial state of affairs” at the university.
It said this was due to a “steep decline in the allocated subvention for the 2019/2020 financial year”.
In a statement signed by NUL Registrar, Liteboho Maqalika-Lerotholi, the Senate said as a result of reduced revenue, the government had given all institutions of higher learning three options which they all rejected.
The first option was to “maintain the 2018/2019 tuition fees and not implement any fee increases while also maintaining their 2018/2019 student absorption and not insist on filling their allocated quota”.

“For NUL, this converts to 1 630 sponsorships against the allocated quota of 2 330 sponsorships. This is the preferred option for the government of Lesotho,” reads the statement.
The second option was to maintain the 2018/2019 fees and maintain the 2018/2019 sponsorship quota.
The Senate however said the number of sponsorships related to this option are difficult to compute as the benefit is conditional.
The third option was to increase fees for reduced sponsorship quota.
“Institutions that implement the fee increases would have their sponsorship quotas reduced in relation to the budget. Indications are that with the approved fee increases, the total quota allocation for NUL would be reduced from 2 330 new sponsorships to around 1 500 new sponsorships,” Maqalika-Lerotholi said.
“The immediate implications that would result from implementing any of the proposed options is that NUL would, at the most, operate only up to the end of the first semester in 2019/2020 before it runs out of funds.”

After carefully going through the permutations for all the three options, the Senate said none of the options the government had proposed were “advisable to implement”.
“Council should instead reiterate the required level of funding for NUL to operate to the government of Lesotho for it to make the relevant decisions and take appropriate action,” the Senate said.
It also decided to form a task-team made up of four representatives from the public institutions of higher learning that would adopt a common action plan in the search for solutions.
Maqalika-Lerotholi said the Senate had also decided to engage Basotho on the prevailing crisis to find lasting solutions to the crisis.
“In the event that none of the above strategies bear fruit, the university should prepare to shut down until the government is able to finance it to the required level,” she said.

Refiloe Mpobole

 

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