UB paying the price for complacency

The University of Botswana invited leaders of the main political parties in the country for a familiarisation tour yesterday.

The vice chancellor Professor Thabo Fako shared with his guests - from the Botswana Democratic Party, the Botswana Congress Party and the Umbrella for Democratic Party and its affiliates - the challenges that the institution of higher learning is facing.  The UB head singled out stiff competition from the new and upcoming universities, in particular, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). Fako and his company are worried that ‘new baby’ is receiving a lot of ‘tender care’ from the government in the form of funding, that has triggered staff exodus to Palapye.   Well and good.  But perhaps UB should stop being crybabies and introspect.

Gone are the days when UB was the sole provider of tertiary education, when it was almost impossible to get admitted to the institution. Unfortunately, UB took for granted the arrival of other learning institutions - private and government-owned, and relaxed as if it was business as usual. 

Sometime in 2013, Mmegi ran a detailed article about the frustrations that UB academics are subjected to because of the arrangement that prevailed at the time. Among others, the academicians stated that they were treated as juniors to the administration or support staff. In some instances, working conditions for secretaries, technicians, and directors were far much better than those of lecturers and professors. The academics further stated that the university was reluctant to fund their research projects, and in some instances, they were forced to self-finance their travels abroad to make presentations. But that was not the case with the support staff, as they were able to organise trips for themselves and stay in five star hotels.  At the time the UB did not bother to counter the allegations.


While not totally placing the blame on the institution, it must also be recalled that due to their rigid and uncompromising stance, thousands of young Batswana who completed their higher education in the 1990s, with good grades in Sciences found it tough to get admitted to UB on grounds that they did not pass English. Today, some of them are wasted and they may never be revived.

We cannot blame all this solely on UB, but the institution played a big role in destroying the promise, not only for those gifted Batswana, but the country.

It is our position that Science-related studies should continue be fully funded if we are to produce engineers, doctors, technicians, and others falling within the scarce skills categories. Let government fund BIUST, which should in turn produce scientists of all forms to boast our economy.

Today’s thought

“Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.”

 

- Stephen Hawking

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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