EU, Government open new training facilities in Gaborone (25/01/2011)
The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Botswana Mr Paul Malin and the Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development Mr Keletso Rakhudu will on Friday (28/01/2011) officially open the new facilities at the Gaborone Technical College and the Botswana College of Engineering and Technology, formerly the Automotive Trades Technical College.
The new facilities for the two colleges costing P66.5 million are designed to help increase access to, and opportunities for technical education and training in general and for students with disabilities and special learning needs in particular.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Ambassador Malin expressed his happiness at being able to attend the opening of the new facilities on the last in Office in Botswana as he moves on to other challenges in the region. "It is a great reward for me to be able to see the end of a project on which the Delegation of the European Union has worked with Government over the last five years of my stay in Botswana," he said. He further added: "I hope that the new facilities will be put to full use rapidly".
Mr Malin explained that the European Union no longer finances buildings as in the Gaborone or Francistown Technical Colleges, but rather supports the whole education system through substantial financial contributions to the Government budget and technical assistance to improve the workings of the system. He said "the EU commends the Government of Botswana for the scale of its investment in education and recognition of its importance to create the workforce for a diversified modern economy. The EU is supporting the Ministerial and management team in education and skills development to improve the return on that considerable investment through fuller use of facilities, greater participation and better results at all levels of education".
The European Union through the 8th European Development Fund (EDF) contributed P36.5 million and the remaining amount was covered by the Government of Botswana. The EU had already contributed €15 million (approximately P135 million at current exchange rate) to the initial construction of the two colleges which was completed in 2001.
The following facilities have been constructed in the Gaborone Technical College: Science and Technology Block; Learning Centre for special needs; expansion of Hospitality &Tourism Training Centre; Multifunction Hall and Gym/Sports Hall; alterations to Hostel Block to improve access to the disabled. At the Botswana College of Engineering and Technology, works included the extension of the Kitchen, Administration and Dining Block, a Multifunction Hall and Gym/Sports Hall and stabilisation of Workshop facilities.
The EU has supported the education sector in Botswana in the last 15 years working with the Government of Botswana to assist the development of the education and training sector. Before 2006 when the EU shifted to budget support, a large share of the EU funding went to projects for the building and equipment of Colleges, including €15 million to the new Technical College in Francistown. Since 2006, funding has increased to a total of P625 million disbursed directly to Government.
For more information please contact:
Mr. Bester Gabotlale
Press and Information Officer
Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC