MASERU — The National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) says if the National University of Lesotho (NUL) remains closed it will soon stop giving food and housing allowances to students who don’t stay on campus.
NMDS director Letholetseng Ntsike told a press conference yesterday that the secretariat will not pay the food and housing allowances to students until the university is opened.
The students get M800 for food and M620 for housing every month.
Ntsike said the new requirement was because the university was closed and no lectures were taking place.
She said the cancellation of the allowances was in line with an Act of Parliament that regulates the operations of the NMDS.
“The Act and the contract provisions say the NMDS should only give money to students who are undergoing learning.
“There is no teaching at NUL at the moment and the NMDS has to stop giving money to the students,” Ntsike said.
NUL was shut down on October 12 after lecturers and non-academic staff downed tools to press for better working conditions and a halt to a restructuring programme that began this year.
The lecturers want a 15 percent salary review.
Last month the university’s management got a High Court order barring the striking lecturers from entering the Roma campus.
Ntsike said the NMDS had resolved to give the students housing allowances just for this month on humanitarian grounds.
“The housing allowance is for this month only. If the school is not opened there won’t be money given to the students. Money will only be given when classes begin.
“That way we will be able to give students money if the management decides to extend the academic year. We only have money budgeted for 10 months of education per student,” she said.
Ntsike urged the students to vacate their rented properties until the university management announced when the institution will re-open.
“We are not going to pay anything until the school opens,” she said.
Meanwhile the police have warned students not to set foot on the campus in line with a High Court obtained by the university last month.
“We have a letter written to the university’s authorities encouraging parents and students not to go to the university,” Masupha Masupha, the police spokesman said in a press statement on Monday.
He said the order was issued by the High Court on October 16.
“We will do whatever it takes to make sure that people obey that law,” he added.