MASERU — Lecturers at the troubled Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) have rubbished claims by students that they are under-qualified.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, a spokesman for the LUCT academic staff, Malefetsane Nchaka, said the students’ charge was based on a serious misunderstanding of how the varsity works.
Nchaka said while the allegation could have been true when the university started in 2008 this was no longer the case as all academic staff were qualified to teach at Limkokwing.
“This issue that LUCT lecturers are not qualified to teach is null and void,” Nchaka said.
“The LUCT offers two qualifications which are associate degrees and honours degrees.
“The associate degree is equivalent to a diploma while the honours degree is similar to a normal university degree.
“Therefore it is not a mistake for a lecturer who holds a junior degree to teach a diploma programme.
“There is also no mistake when a lecturer with an honours degree teaches students for a degree.”
The LUCT was last month rocked by serious unrest as students demonstrated against the university’s management.
The students alleged that some of the lecturers at the LUCT were unqualified.
A week of protests forced the authorities to shut down the university on September 16.
The university only re-opened its doors again on October 5.
Nchaka insisted that the university had since replaced all under-qualified staff with competent lecturers.
He said management was currently working hard to improve the conditions of service for teaching staff in a bid to attract “intelligent brains”.
At present lecturers at Limkokwing are earning average gross salaries of M13 000 a month.
The lecturers wanted a 50 percent hike on their pay but the management at the LUCT awarded them 18 percent last week.
The decision to award the lecturers salary increments averted a potentially paralysing strike by lecturers to demand more pay which was scheduled to start tomorrow.
The lecturers said they were also not happy that the university gives them one-year contracts, only extending the contracts when they are happy with a lecturer’s performance.
They are demanding that the university gives academic staff five-year contracts.
They also want the management to provide a medical aid scheme that will cover not just the lecturers but their immediate families as well.
The current scheme caters for university lecturers only.
“The management is currently communicating with the university authorities in Malaysia to discuss lecturers’ needs,” Nchaka said.
“We want them to improve remuneration and benefits.
“It is only when they offer reasonable remuneration that they will be able to retain the qualified lecturers that they now have.”
The lecturers said with the kind of fees it charges the university should be in a position to pay its academic staff well.
Students enrolled for associate degrees pay tuition fees of about M19 000 a year while those enrolled for honours degrees pay about M25 000 a year.
There are about 3 000 students who are enrolled at the LUCT.