Disgruntled Botho University students yesterday petitioned the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele over the ongoing programmes’ accreditation tussle, the quality of courses and general student welfare issues.
The appeal, which was delivered by the Student Representative Council (SRC) vice president Oarabile Setime, at the Ministry headquarters, entailed a number of grievances pertaining to their learning conditions.
The written petition accuses most courses of being poorly structured, littered with irrelevant modules as well as repetition of the same.
“Most students did their own research comparing their programmes with similar ones from other institutions and they found out that our curriculum is not well structured in the sense that here in Botho, students are taught irrelevant modules which are not related to our area of study so that we fully get equipped with skills and knowledge necessary, but in our institution we have been fed with modules that do not contribute anyway to our programme,” learners said. On repeated modules, the students argue that there are very slight differences especially in accounting modules offered at the University.
“We believe that these modules are just a waste of time as we are not acquiring new skills whereas time is passing. Most of the modules which have pre-requisites are of no value and we deem them as repeated modules,” the petition further reads.
It goes on to punch holes in the manner in which courses are delivered, decrying its “poor”, status and accusing lecturers of incompetence.
“In Botho we have a situation whereby a lecture can teach through different faculties, which somehow compromises their delivery. We also have issues where lecturers teach modules, which are not related to their qualifications,” the students said.
They also complained about poor resources, for instance, unavailability of laboratories, which hinder learners from practical and experimental learning.
“We have courses like jewellery management, electrical engineering, multimedia and network engineering that indispensably require self-contained laboratories and equipment. Nonetheless, we do not have such amenities to facilitate the operations of the curricula,” they queried.
They also decried the sour relations between the student leadership and management.
“The management tends to punitively take decisions on reactionary basis to prevent the SRC from airing students’ grievances.”
Minister Madigele assured the learners that his Ministry has taken measures to expedite programmes accreditation exercise inter alia capacitating the Botswana Qualifications Authority financially.
“We are seriously worried about the issue of quality assurance, not only at Botho University but across all tertiary institutions,” he said when accepting the petition.
He appealed to the student community to go back to school once the institution re-opens while the Ministry works on resolving their concerns.
“In the meantime, go back to school and continue with your lessons and tutorials. I am saying this because some learners have vowed not to go back before solutions have been found,” said Madigele.