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NMDS bungles again

ONCE again, the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) has lived up to its dubious distinction as a bungling government department.
Limkokwing University and Lerotholi Polytechnic last week temporarily suspended classes after students went on strike following delays by the NMDS to release their book allowances.
We have been here before.
It has become a trend that every semester tertiary students in this country have to fight the NMDS before they get their allowances.
In previous strikes property was destroyed while students were killed, injured or arrested.
Colleges have been shut down indefinitely, costing the students valuable learning time.
When that happens, you can always count on the department to start apportioning blame on either the colleges’ management or the students themselves.
The NMDS is never short of excuses.
If it’s not the colleges’ management that have delayed the disbursement of funds it is the students who have not renewed their contracts.
Sometimes the NMDS tries to portray itself, with little success though, as a victim of overzealous students who are always willing to take to the streets for flimsy reasons.
Yet, if the truth be told, the department is mostly to blame for the chaos.
It should take the blame for its dismal and repeated failure to anticipate the problems that happen at the start of every semester.
Over the years, the NMDS has consistently failed to run a delay-free operation.
Instead of being responsive the NMDS has always resorted to firefighting and blame-shifting tactics.
It has clearly failed to learn from previous mistakes and its ineptness has now become a danger to the development of our education system.
For instance, the authorities at the department knew as early as June that they had to pay the subsistence and book allowances for tertiary students but, for reasons known only to themselves, they waited until August to start the process.
When they finally decided to start paying the allowances the process overwhelmed them, leading to the delay.
It boggles the mind why the department keeps repeating the same mistakes year after year.
We understand that the NMDS is poorly equipped, understaffed and its systems are antiquated.
Yet that should not be an excuse.
If anything, those shortcomings make it of paramount importance for the department to be better organised and able to anticipate problems.
The NMDS must efficiently use the little resources it has to get the job done.
That is how the world works.
If your car is unreliable you start the journey early so that if it breaks down along the way you can get help before night falls.
That basic wisdom seems not to have reached our officials at the NMDS.
It would seem that someone in the department is not doing their work.
It is high time heads start to roll at the department.
The NMDS cannot continue to operate as if things are normal.

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