9 November 2017

Botswana: Education Govt Priority

Gaborone — President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama yesterday (November 9) opened three infrastructural development projects at the BA ISAGO University Campus of Gaborone.

Projects include a convention centre, Mabaleng Sporting Complex and the Pavillion, with a combined cost of P64 million.

Speaking at the event, President Khama said education was important for the development of citizens and this was the reason government prioritised the sector when it came to budgeting.

He thanked BA ISAGO University for responding to government call to create internal capacity for placement of tertiary students because it was expensive to train students abroad.

The President assured his audience he would continue to contribute to efforts to develop the nation beyond his retirement.

"My intention is to continue working for this nation in many ways. I am not retiring in that sense. I am vacating the office of the presidency," he added.

In his welcome remarks, the chairperson of the board of directors, Ms Ruth Gabasiane said the university had launched a five year Strategic Plan (2018-2022) with an overarching vision of being the leading tertiary education institution in Botswana by 2022.

She explained that during the five year strategic plan period, the university will introduce programmes at a higher level.

Regarding the facilities, Ms Gabasiane said those were modern architectural designs befitting of a 21st century institution of higher learning, which the university trust will stand the test of time in terms of their long-lasting quality and functionality.

She explained that the completion of the projects represented 'an unwavering' commitment and faith of both stakeholders and funders to the future role and viability of the institution.

"Further, we have successfully obtained funding for the erection of our six -storey academic building, the completion of which will mark the conclusion of Phase Two of our Grand Master Plan," she added.

The board chairperson further explained that some of the norms and standards on which tertiary education providers were assessed included the provision of infrastructure.

He added that the competition of these developments represented an important milestone in the fulfilment of this expectations and requirements as per the requirement by oversight bodies such as the Botswana Qualification Authority.

She said great care and efforts were being taken to create and maintain as pleasing an environment as aesthetically possible.

"This is evident, in part, from our well-manicured lawns, the diversity of our trees, vegetation and landscaping all of which are directed to ensuring an ambience and most conducive and pleasant environment to teaching and learning."

Ms Gabasiane stated that it was the university's hope that the present students and generations yet to come, would in addition to their academic preparations, also be instilled with a sense of appreciation, or better still a reverence for nature's creations.

In giving a vote of thanks, the university's acting president, Mr Ruramayi Tadu said the establishment of private tertiary institution in Botswana was not an opportunistic step, but was in response to a clear invitation by the government for partnership with the private sector.

"That decision was well-founded and is beyond question because indeed we have educated so many more of our nation's youth, and much more affordably and economically than was previously the case when students were being placed externally," he added.

Mr Tadu said the university had transformed itself from a small institution that commenced its operations with 50 students and six members of staff, in both academic and non-academic.

He explained that initially, the school offered certificates and later diploma qualifications and these programmes were largely franchised or licensed adding that these have since been diversified and also upgraded to degree level.

He said during this epic journey, the institution changed from a university college to a fully-fledged university adding, "our growth, though not exponential, has been steady and continuous."

President Khama and his entourage that included the Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Mr Fidelis Molao, were also taken on a conducted tour of the facilities.

Source : BOPA

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