Sub­ven­tion al­legedly mis­used

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

Al­leged fail­ure by the Swazi­land Chris­tian Med­i­cal Univer­sity (SCU) to sub­mit au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments to govern­ment de­spite get­ting a sub­ven­tion has given rise to al­le­ga­tions that the money was mis­used.

The is­sue of the lack of au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments was high­lighted by Min­is­ter Phineas Ma­gag­ula over a week ago dur­ing a brief in­ter­view. “How could we let the in­sti­tu­tion con­tinue get­ting govern­ment fund­ing whereas they were un­able to pro­duce au­dited state­ments,” the min­is­ter had asked.

This past week, a source re­vealed how the sub­com­mit­tees which have been in­structed to look into fi­nances and aca­demics were brought about af­ter there were al­le­ga­tions to the ef­fect that prop­erty was al­legedly pur­chased with some of the sub­ven­tion from govern­ment.

How­ever, these al­le­ga­tions have not yet been proven in any com­pe­tent set­ting or court of law.

Four years of learn­ing has come to nought for hun­dreds of stu­dents at Swazi­land Chris­tian Med­i­cal Univer­sity as their in­sti­tu­tion was alerted, over a year ago, that cour­ses of­fered were not ad­e­quately pur­sued.

This is ac­cord­ing to the Swazi­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil re­port which states that as early as 2016, it rec­om­mended the ex­ten­sion of the du­ra­tion of cour­ses to al­low stu­dents to take prac­ti­cals.

In 2016, the au­dit on the in­sti­tu­tion re­vealed that there was an acute short­age of lab­o­ra­tory equip­ment and re­lated in­puts and as a re­sult, stu­dents had not done the re­quired prac­ti­cals.

De­spite the univer­sity in­creas­ing the num­bers of laboratories as well as equip­ment and reagents, “The univer­sity failed to con­vince the panel that the stu­dents were ready to grad­u­ate in 2017.

The mitigation strate­gies were given, but there was no ev­i­dence to sup­port the claims,” states the re­port.

Adding, it stated that there should have been con­sid­er­a­tion for more prac­ti­cal ori­ented sub­jects such as the Bach­e­lors of Ra­dio­g­ra­phy, Psy­chol­ogy as well as so­cial work. The only course which seems to have been ad­e­quately dis­sem­i­nat- ed, was the Bach­e­lor of Nurs­ing Sciences which was ap­proved by the Swazi­land Nurs­ing Coun­cil.

When as­sess­ing the phar­macy pro­grammes, the panel mem­bers felt that ex­tend­ing the du­ra­tion of the pro­gramme would not nec­es­sar­ily en­sure that the grad­u­ates pro­duced would be of the re­quired stan­dard of phar­ma­cists in the coun­try. Rec­om­men­da­tions were to the ef­fect that an in­de­pen­dent com­pe­tency as­sess­ment for the stu­dents should be con­ducted since this would help in de­cid­ing on the com­pe­ten­cies of the com­plet­ing stu­dents, es­pe­cially third and fourth years. “This would as­sist in in­de­pen­dently as­cer­tain­ing the ex­act com­pe­ten­cies of the stu­dents within the phar­macy pro­gramme at the SCU and in the peg­ging of these stu­dents into the rel­e­vant Swazi­land Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Frame­work,” reads the re­port. SCU was not fully reg­is­tered. De­spite the Swazi­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil (SHEC) fail­ing to suc­cinctly state that the Swazi­land Chris­tian Med­i­cal Univer­sity should be closed in its au­dit re­port sub­mit­ted to cab­i­net in April, it was never fully reg­is­tered in the first place. The univer­sity has been op­er­at­ing un­der pro­vi­sional li­cens­ing pend­ing its meet­ing re­quire­ments by SHEC.

Min­is­ter Phineas of Ed­u­ca­tion and Ma­gag­ula. Train­ing

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