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New varsity promises to “grow Lesotho”



Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

Botho University (BU) has promised to deliver “high standard and quality education” and produce “employable” graduates.

The Botswana-headquartered varsity is expected to start full operations at Maseru Mall on 29 June 2015 with an induction programme of 1000 students.

According to the  BU Head of Business Development and International Relations ’Mankhole Masisi-Thakhisi, the institution had since been approved by the Lesotho Council on Higher Learning (CHE) to offer Bachelor of Science (BSc) Honours degree in four programmes, namely Accounting, Business Management, Computing and Health Information Management.

“Botho University submitted a total of 10 programmes to the Lesotho Council on Higher Education. Out of those 10 programmes, we were requested to prioritise our core programmes, hence the four I have just mentioned. The four programmes have now been fully accredited by the Council,” Ms Masisi-Thakhisi told the Sunday Express on Friday.

However, Ms Masisi-Thakhisi noted BU was also waiting for a response from the Ministry of Development Planning for government sponsorship of its students.

“Our programmes are going to take four-and-a-half years, on a full-time basis, to complete and probably most parents are not going to afford the monies involved. We have submitted everything that the Ministry of Development Planning requires from us in terms of assisting the government to understand our processes and intention.

“We are still waiting for a response from the ministry with regards to government sponsorship. However, we are a positive institution. We are hopeful because we understand that our aspirations are also core to government’s aspirations. We, both of us, want to see Lesotho grow. We believe that the government will do all it can to support foreign direct investors.

“We are going to kick-start with the four programmes on 29 June as I have already said. There shall be a 10-day induction programme. Then we kick-start the lessons. We have issued close to 800 admission letters. However, the university has pre-planned to accommodate a total of 1000 students in the first intake. We want to have 250 students per programme. We have excellent facilities right here at Maseru Mall.”

Meanwhile, the University on Wednesday held a stakeholders’ networking session aimed at sharing the institution’s vision and mission.

“On Wednesday, we had a stakeholders’ networking session. The key purpose of the session was to share, not only with our competitors, but also with our customers; our customers here include students, parents, our service providers, our potential suppliers and more importantly with governing bodies.

“The sole purpose of this networking session was to liaise with our key stakeholders; share with them our vision, our mission and where BU comes from; what the university is; how it came to Lesotho and its journey thus far. And to also share with them our hopes and aspirations and our challenges because we believe that the people of Lesotho are better-positioned to help resolve the challenges that we are having.

“We would like total community ownership and national ownership of this university in terms of business ideas, the vision because we are coming here to be totally embraced by Basotho; to be able to operate in a Sesotho way without compromising the quality of our products and the processes of our products.

“Our programmes are very strongly because Botho University is an ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) 9001: 2008-certified organisation. What this means is that we have been approved by a credible standardisation organ whose head office is in Geneva. And that is where most world standards are all agreed upon.”

Ms Masisi-Thakhisi further noted BU was also approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Department of Standards, “which takes responsibility of all quality management systems”.

Ms Masisi-Thakhisi further remarked that it was high time educational institutions in Lesotho are certified based on the quality of their management systems, instead of only approving programmes they offer.

“Where the business of education is going worldwide is that instead of certifying programmes per se. it is better to certify the institutions. You certify them in accordance with their quality, management systems’ processes. The ISO ensures and assures that processes are done in accordance with international standards, as opposed to programmes being certified, which is the process being used in Lesotho and Botswana. Most developing countries are still doing that.

“The challenge internationally that we begin to see is that when programmes are being certified, after a year or two, with this high technology, that programme becomes obsolete. So instead of certifying programmes, we are trying to encourage certifying institutions so that we can allow programmes to be agile and respond to the 21st century needs.”

BU was established in Botswana in 1997 and granted university status in 2013.

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