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Clean up structural mess at Limkokwing

THE Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), is yet again going through a fresh bout of unrest that has seen respected academic, Dr ’Mamolete Mohapi, quitting in a huff.
Unions at the varsity are demanding that the university “reinstate” Mohapi.
On Friday the mayhem continued. The unions gave a seven-day ultimatum to the administration to fire another senior official whom they accused of stifling development.
The official at the centre of the row is the associate director and international development officer Marcia Mangadi.
The current stand-off at Limkokwing comes a few weeks after the university was shut down for the umpteenth time following student protests.
The students were once again accusing the university authorities of failing to disburse their allowances on time.
In all these disturbances it has been the students who have been the biggest losers.
We know no effective learning can take place in an environment characterised by strife.
A university needs to be a centre of excellence in learning and research.
The problems at Limkokwing can only be resolved when authorities in Malaysia take a united stand in changing how things are done at the Maseru campus.
Until such a decision is made we should get used to seeing more problems of this nature recurring every semester.
These protests will not do the university any good.
In fact they only exacerbate what has been an already serious image problem for the varsity.
We are aware that senior management earlier this year went on a charm offensive visiting media houses in an attempt to correct what they said was “a negative perception about the university”.
Their thinking was that the university had been unfairly targeted by the media.
We disagree.
We believe the university has brought most of the negative media attention upon itself.
But the ball remains in their court.
Only they can undo the damage.
On paper Limkokwing remains a brilliant idea.
It has a wonderful curriculum that appears well suited for the 21st century.
However the university has squandered that goodwill.
It has not allowed itself to flourish.
During the past three years it has hobbled from crisis to crisis with no end in sight.
We thought these were unavoidable birth pangs.
It is however becoming clear that there are serious structural problems at Limkokwing that are crying out for attention.
Until the owners in Malaysia dismantle the structural monster they set up, by empowering local administrative staff to make executive decisions, worker and student unrest will remain a constant event at the Maseru campus.
A university cannot be run by remote control from Kuala Lumpur.
The owners in Malaysia must have the guts to let go by appointing a qualified vice-chancellor to act as the university’s chief executive officer.
The vice-chancellor must be empowered to run the show.
He must not allow any unprofessional fingers to interfere in the day-to-day running of the university.
The university also needs to reassure all stakeholders that recruitment is being done on merit.
Only then will we see the current circus where unions demand to have a say in the sacking and retention of key staff coming to an end.
A university cannot be run through fake democratic procedures.

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