NUL in ‘big mess’
By thabo On 6 Mar, 2010 At 10:04 PM | Categorized As News | With 2 Comments

Council chairman blames poor structures, indiscipline

 

Staff Reporter

MASERU — The chairperson of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) Council says the country’s highest institution of learning is in a big mess because of poor governance structures and indiscipline among management, lecturers and students.

NUL has over the years been hurtling from crisis to crisis, highlighted by student protests and the university’s failure to produce audited accounts in the last two years.

Dr ‘Molotsi Monyamane  (pictured below) — in his first newspaper interview since he and the NUL Council he heads were appointed in December — says the university’s vice-chancellor Professor Adelani Ogunrinade had failed to stop the rot.

Ogunrinade was, as exclusively revealed by the Sunday Express last week, fired on Monday over a raft of allegations including financial embezzlement.

Monyamane has, however, refused to confirm Ogunrinade’s dismissal.

He says NUL — established in 1975 — is failing to meet the “professional needs of this country” because of the crisis at the college.

Monyamane says his council will have to take extraordinary measures to repair the institution’s damaged reputation and pull its plummeting standards to international levels.

The council is the university’s highest decision-making body.

Monyamane admits NUL’s 11th council is up against a “system and environment that has been poisoned”.

Part of the current problems, he says, is the legacy created by inconsistent governance structures.

This, Monyamane says, has entrenched a culture of lack of transparency, responsibility and accountability.

That culture has been allowed to go on for too long, he says.

He says, for instance, the university has not produced audited accounts for the past two years which means it has not accounted for the millions that NUL received from the government in the form of subvention funds.

“The 2007-08 audit report is only a draft,” Monyamane says.

“There is nothing for the 2008-2009 financial year.

“They have not produced audits for the 2009-2010 year.”

It is sad that such critical issues have not been addressed, Monyamane laments.

“Under Ogunrinade the university has failed to produce basic things like monthly management accounts,” he says.

“It has no audit committee. The audits, by the way, are the responsibility of the vice-chancellor as the chief accounting officer.

“There are no clear financial and human resources polices.

“There are no guidelines and procedures.”

He adds: “The university is governed by statutes and ordinances that create a conflict of interest because they are blurred.

“There are no clear job specifications and descriptions.”

This has been caused by the fact that the ordinances and statutes are not aligned with the Tertiary Institutions Act of 2004 and other laws of the land, Monyamane says.

He says the mess at the Roma campus has continued unabated because the university does not have a clear financial policy to guide expenditure and allocations.

“Right now there is no set limit as to how much (money) the management can approve,” he reveals.

Yet there are other serious problems that have been spawned by the lack of a clear financial policy.

Resources have not been properly allocated according to the university’s priorities, Monyamane says.

NUL has been using 85 percent of its annual grant from the government on salaries and staff emoluments.

This has starved other key areas like research, teaching facilities and infrastructure.

NUL has also failed to introduce new academic programmes relevant to the challenges facing the country.

The university, Monyamane reveals, has also been giving housing and car loans to staff at a 10 percent interest rate without government approval.

“NUL is not a financial institution,” he says.

“It cannot use taxpayers’ money for staff loans but the VC has allowed it to continue happening.”

He adds: “(Ogunrinade) has allowed workers to carry over their leave days in breach of the law.

“The university has now been forced to pay some workers for up to 500 leave days that were allowed to accumulate until the end of their contracts.

“Now, if we are to pay all workers their accumulated leave days we would need about M39 million. 

“Had the management been prudent we would not be facing the risk of losing such a huge amount.

“That is money we should be using for core issues.”

There are other inherent problems that have made accountability and transparency rare commodities at NUL.

According to Monyamane, the vice-chancellor has had too much power by chairing the investment, academic, procurement and finance and development committees.

The vice-chancellor is also the university’s chief accounting officer.

Monyamane says this is a serious anomaly that has been the root cause of much of the transactions that have left the university’s financial records in tatters.

“When you hold all those crucial positions there are no checks and balances to ensure transparency and accountability,” he says.

“The VC can do virtually anything.”

With transparency and accountability virtually non-existent, donors and other organisations have deserted the university, leaving its research projects in limbo.

NUL has also failed to attract and retain professors.

These fundamental problems have scared away donors that were otherwise willing to support the university with research grants, according to Monyamane.

“The reputation has been damaged,” he says.

“Donors don’t want to put their money in institutions that lack transparency.

“They don’t want to fund organisations that can’t account for the money.

“This is exactly what has been happening under the VC.”

The government too, he says, finds itself in a difficult position because it has an obligation to fund NUL even if the university does not account for the money.

Last year the Kellogg Foundation pulled the plug on a US$800 000 grant to NUL following damaging allegations that Ogunrinade had unprocedurally paid himself a US$100 000 honorarium which he claimed was for his role in managing the project.

The Kellogg Foundation is a United States organisation that funds capacity building projects.

There were also allegations that basic corporate ethics had been flouted when the vice-chancellor approved hefty allowances for college employees who were part of the project.

Ogunrinade is also alleged to have paid himself a whopping M20 000 for “officially opening” a workshop funded by Irish Aid to train NUL student leaders.

Monyamane says, under Ogunrinade, standards at NUL have plunged and the quality of graduates has inevitably suffered.

He says the council has “become extremely worried about the quality of our graduates”.

“I see these things in the industry,” Monyamane says.

“I see the inadequacies that these people have in meeting the urgent needs of the industry and the country as a whole.

“Our output does not support the economy.

“Most of those people (graduates) only think of joining the government.”

Monyamane says his council is aware that some lecturers “never teach but spend most of their time running private businesses”.

They have abandoned the students, he says.

There is a shortage of academic staff and professors at NUL.

“The university can’t retain qualified academic staff,” Monyamane says.

“It also can’t attract professors.

“This is precisely what Ogunrinade was hired to deal with but still nothing has improved.”

The chaos at NUL had been worsened by employees who are preoccupied with playing political games and toppling the leadership rather than doing their work, Monyamane claims.

“We have an academic staff union and a non-academic staff union. Then we have an administrative staff union,” he says.

“Now the question is: who is the administrative staff unionising against?”

This unionism, he says, has made it extremely difficult for the university to discipline truant employees.

Monyamane says in most cases when a worker is called to a disciplinary hearing he or she brings a lawyer and “turn the hearing into a court”.

“The law says a worker is allowed to bring a colleague but what has been happening is that most opt to bring workmates that are from another department and they are lawyers,” he says.

“This has turned the hearings into court sessions.

“And because of that we now have workers who have been getting salaries for years without working.

“The reason is that the process would have been sabotaged.

“That situation frustrates the disciplinary procedures that are clearly laid out in accordance with the labour laws of this country.”

The university is polarised as well because there are no clear structures to deal with grievances and resolve disputes.

“This culture of politicising everything,” Monyamane says, “has spilled into government which is the major employer of most of the NUL graduates.

“These people are coming from NUL with the same political mindset and they have no time to focus on delivering services to the people.”

Monyamane says while employees concentrate on fighting political battles the university has lost its focus.

NUL’s curriculum has also not moved with the changing times because “people have little time to focus on the core business of teaching and creating a conducive learning environment”.

The result is a country that has inadequate human resource capacity, Monyamane says.

NUL students themselves don’t seem interested in their education, he adds.

“You have students who are busy drinking beer,” Monyamane says.

“When students drink beer they can’t concentrate on their studies and they subject themselves to risk.”

NUL’s inadequacies are already apparent in the industry that it seeks to provide with skills, he says.

“We have no people who are trained in negotiation and dispute resolution, for example,” Monyamane says.

“For years we have depended on experts from outside or locals that are not trained in that field.

“Look at the negotiations in the Southern African Customs Union.

“The South Africans dominate the negotiations not only because of the (economic) muscle that they have but also because they are trained to negotiate.

“We don’t have such people who are equipped to negotiate at that high level.”

Monyamane is also worried about NUL’s failure to meet the human resources requirements of the health sector, something he is passionate about since he is a medical doctor.

“We have a university but there are not enough doctors, nurses and paramedics,” he says.

“There are no physiotherapists in the country.

“We have a university but we can’t train our own speech and occupational therapists.

“Our doctor-patient ratio is probably the worst in southern Africa.

“Our nurse-patient ratio is particularly bad.

“We have been relying on doctors from outside for years.”

Monyamane says since its appointment his council has been engaging stakeholders to find lasting solutions to NUL’s problems.

 

The council has met students, staff, support organisations, government ministries, churches, alumni, the diaspora and the Roma community.

These stakeholders all agree that things have gone haywire and there must be change, Monyamane says.

“But they don’t know how it can be changed,” he adds.

Monyamane believes the change must start with a healing process and getting stakeholders working together.

“There is so much anger,” he says.

“The students are angry and so are the administration, academic and management staff.

“The non-academic staff think they are being sidelined.”

But he says his council is about to take these problems head-on.

“We want to improve the communication structure, management, transparency, accountability, governance and responsibility,” Monyamane says.

“We want to strengthen the disciplinary processes so that they are fair and just.

“We have also formed specific committees within the council to deal with the problems of management, financial accountability, risk management and audit.

“The induction of the council was done by the audit firm to train the councillors and the student representative council on good corporate governance.

“That training will also be extended to management, all employees and students.

“The students have been included in the training because they too have mismanaged their own allocation from the subvention account.

“The SRC as a body corporate did not run its affairs in a transparent, ethical, responsible and accountable manner, leading to unrest that destabilised the institution.”

Monyamane says they will impose these measures on the NUL’s management because the council plays an overseer role and has to ensure all tasks are performed in accordance with the university’s vision and the strategic plans.

“Good corporate governance and ethical behaviour should be the key values for all students, staff and the council itself as well,” he says.

“Only then can we be able to shape the perceptions of the stakeholders.

“Only then can we be seen as a good corporate citizen.”

Displaying 18 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Moremi says:

    Monyamane NUL e sebelisitse bokae e sale case e ea VC e qala? Bahlomphehi litho tsa council li fuoa allowance ea bokae per seating? They have been meeting weekly to fire this VC, how much has the university spent on this case alone? Those who campain to go into council only do so to get fat allowances, for the past 2 years the council has only been concentrating on firing VC nothing useful is coming out of the council.

    When VC came here he wanted to stop staff loans because some big guys in bursary & other staff members had their loans disappear from the system & the university was losing bigtime, then staff toyitoyed bare ba batla liloan tseo ba re ke contractual benefits.

    Hape Monyamane VC ha a fihla o ile a khothaletsa batho honka li leave tsa bona ele hore university e se patala batho lichelete hali tsa accummulated leave days, empa basebetsi ba tona mahlo. Mafina e sale a fihla NUL a so nke leave, I am sure matsatsi a hae a feta 600, ha mmoho le benghali bohle ba litulong tse phahameng.

    Your counil is a joke, what can people like Lerato do in council? He only went there for seating allowance, he is a young inexperienced boy, hungry for money, iddle.

    • mothoana says:

      O tlile hantle joale ebe lerato oa molimo o ile a u hata a sa u bone? ho etsahalang ha u mo qolla tje?

    • Batho says:

      Ho tlameha ho ea basali le banna baholo councli hore e sebetse ha u re Lerato o monyane?????Ke lemo tse kae bo nkhono’oa bao ba le council ho ntso etsahala ntho li sele tsee??? For ur information Lerato is not iddle……..haeba o jeletse seka ba mona ha a fumana seat councileng…

  2. seja says:

    uena moremi, se ke ua tella lerato motho oa heso. haeba u rata ho pepesa ho hloka boiphihlelo ba ‘council’ ena, bua litaba hle monna. ntle le haeba u na le ho hong hoo u ho tsekisang lerato.

  3. levava says:

    monyamane is saying too much………..and this worries me a lot. He talks about administration down to a messed up SRC to the students. He is saying all this stake holders needs to healed and healing is not a one day process for such a big institude. revice your strategies boss since you are one of the stake holders and start healing before its too late,,,,,,,,,,,,watch out!!!!!!!!!!!! LIMKOKWING IS GROWING AT FASTEST RATE EVER

  4. Joalo-Boholo says:

    Khale batho ba bua tjena ka Monynamane. Rona ha re so bone phetoho. NUL e tla chencha ha feela e ka koaloa for a year or two. E ke khe moya.

    • Andrew says:

      U n’u nts’u tla hantle Joalo-Boholo. joale ha u re sekolo se koaloe u bolelang. Hae mona batho ba batla ho senya feela ba sa lokise. Ha u bone hore le Likoena e phomolitsoe. U tl’u shebe he Joalo-Boholo hore na mohla Likoena e khutlang e tla hlola. Ke mang ea okametseng sekolo he joale ba heso haele moo Le Naejeria le lelekuoe kapa le ntse le le teng. Eo eena o tlatsitsoe ka mang?

      Monyamane le eena oa re makatsa haele mona a ngola litaba tseo eena a lokelang ho li lokisa le moifonyana oo oa hae oa Council. Etsa mosebetsi Doctor u tlohele ho pepesa sekolo sa hau ka tsela ena. Rona ba bang bana ba rona ba ntse ba kena sekolo mono ‘me re batla ba qete. Se ka se koalang hle batho ba heso! Le tla re ts’osa.

  5. genaro says:

    taba tsa NUL li thata hampe baheso li batla ‘nete feela

  6. genaro says:

    Ae boo tsohle kea li utloa tseo ngaka a buang ka tsona baheso empa joale ha a bua ka liloan tsa staff joale ba keke ba molumella, hona o tla sebetsa joang le batho bao eena a sa bueng le bona a ilo batlontlolla likoranteng kapa ho nepahetse

  7. Andrew says:

    Moremi monna o halefile.

  8. Sentle says:

    U bua haholo uena u senang lekunutu ka bakuli – ke Roma mona, u tla tlontlohela, ntate;

    DO YOUR JOB, if there is any! u n’o bua ka team ea bolo u tloha feela, now ARE YOU PROUD OF SUCH A LONG ARTICLE FROM YOU??? Your ethics are in question! You talk about every sector? “Mr Know Everything Mnyamane!”

    • Libatha says:

      you are right Sentle, Monyamanenyana enoa ehlile o iketse pohoana-ea-khothu. Hantle ke eng? Ke sekoalo sa pitsa e feng? Who the ….does he think he is? Monna ea hloloang ho boloka sephiri sa ngaka-mokuli, a ka khona joang ho “manager” an institution of learning?

  9. Malerapo says:

    Joale Dr empa fela u tlile ka nako e fosahetseng ho se ho hlile ho senyehile boholo NUL. Hoja u tlile hantle ka nako ea Acting VC Mora SEJA ka 2005-2006 la sebetsa hammoho kea u bolella NUL eka be e na le Direction e hohetse more and qualified Professors, batho bohle ba tla mosebetsing with thier heads UP hammoho le bana sa sekolo ba ikutloa morolo ba bile ba thabile ho bona tsoelopele NUL. Fela e se e ka ba u potileng ba ka u tshehetsa there is still time. KEEP IT UP, NTATE.

  10. .......................... says:

    Thanx 2 LCD, every institution relying on government is deteriorating, if it’s not already. And these cretins still think they are excelling? This is decelarating my brothers.

  11. Libatha says:

    Monyamane o batla a tletsoe ke khalefo le mafufa a motho ea rumiloeng, eo hape a batlang ho etsa hantle. Monyamane hana ke mang? Ha se ngaka e moo eo ka nako e nngoe e neng e khaqaka majoala a libiri? Ebe eena ke ea tsoetsoeng ke mosali ea joang hoo a khonang ho khaqaka joala ba libiri ebe o khona ho etsa mosebetsi oa ho alafa bakuli? Kapa o re ruta hore o ntse a iketsetsa masokolla feela? Ke rialo hobane Monyamane, oa senoi-sa-libiri, o re baituti ba luletse joala mme ha ba ithute. Nna ke re, baithuti ba bone ka eena le ba bang ba boholong hore joala ke ntho ea bohlokoa.

  12. shco logo bak shaii says:

    let’s find a way forward. most of the thing listed here are undenyabl facts

  13. Chocholo says:

    Moremi re se re motseba! Re fumane hore ke ‘m’e e mong ea sebetsang mane Library NUL. Joale hee Moremi, maikutlo a hau hase maikutlo a batho bohle – Lerato o kene Councileng ka khetho ea bongata. Ho feta moo ke motho ea tsepahalang haholo le haeba u monyane. By the way, boholo ba baetapele ba Lesotho kajeno ba ne bale litulong tse bolimo hampe ha ba le lilemong tsa Lerato.

    Haele Dr. Monyamane eena litaba tsa hae li hlakile – ke motho ea amohetseng hore qholotso e molibileng e mohlotse. Kea ipotsa hore na maikutlo ana ha hae u kile aa seka-seka le bo mphato ba hae pele aa tlisa lipampiring? Hake nahane joalo, ba ke be ba hanane le eena. ‘Na ke bona ele mona ea HAILELANG “position” ka hara LCD… Watch out!

  14. Research has shown that music has a profound effect on your body and psyche. In fact, there’s a growing field of health care known as Music Therapy, which uses music to heal. Even hospitals are beginning to use music and music therapy to help with pain management, to help ward off depression, to promote movement, to calm patients, to ease muscle tension, and for many other benefits that music and music therapy can bring.

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