First BU-Univen Exchange Successfully Completed
On the 13th of November 2015 Botho University (BU) held a ceremony to bid farewell to its first batch of international exchange students from the University of Venda (Univen) in South Africa after they had spent a semester at BU.
In July this year five students pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing Programme at Univen, located in the town of Thohoyandou in the Limpopo province of South Africa, exchanged places with five students pursuing the same Degree at BU. The five Univen students were: Vhutshilo Matshidza; Nyiko Knowledge Mbhiza; Treasure Thembinkosi Mahlalela; Gilbert Gobiye; and Rofhiwa Netshiya.
The farewell meeting was attended by various staff members including Office of External Relations Dean Mr. Golekanye Setume; Office of External Relations Associate Dean Mrs. Marang Mutuna; Faculty of Computing HOD Mrs. Subitha Sivakumar; and two delegates from Univen.
Addressing attendants of the ceremony, Faculty of Computing HOD Mrs. Subitha Sivakumar mentioned that the Univen students were happy with the exchange and had met top management to provide feedback on their experiences. “The Univen students are intrigued that there are more computer practicals in BU than there are theoretical aspects and they find this relevant to their career paths,” Sivakumar added.
The Univen students gave feedback on their experiences in BU and some of the positive sentiments that were common to all of them included feeling welcomed by staff members, including top management; appreciating the attentiveness of the lecturers; and enjoying the quality infrastructure and computer resources of the institution. “It felt like home and I honestly didn’t want to return any time soon because the staff members and students made me feel welcomed,” remarked Univen student Treasure Mahlalela.
During her closing remarks, Office of External Relations Associate Dean Mrs. Marang Mutuna described the experience of this first international student exchange as a learning curve and highlighted the need for introspection as the two institutions prepare to continue the programme.
The next student exchange between BU and Univen is expected to take place from July 2016.
Botho University Renews Commitment to Quality at Excellence Awards
On the 11th of December Botho University hosted its annual award ceremony and Christmas party to recognize the performance of exceptional university staff members and to celebrate the year's achievements ahead of the Christmas holidays. The honours bestowed on deserving individuals on the night included the Teaching Excellence Awards, Service Excellence Awards and Research Excellence Awards.
Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sheela Raja Ram delivered a speech during the occasion in which she emphasised that the institution will continue its commitment to quality in spite of the tough economic conditions in which it has been forced to operate. She highlighted that in April this year the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) released its final report after auditing Botho University and the report rates the institution's programmes as good quality and the institution as satisfactory quality.
Additionally, towards the end of September many teams of accreditors from Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) conducted their audits for various programmes and in their closing meeting stated that they are recommending that Botho University's ISO certification be recertified for all the institution's four campuses, including the one campus outside Botswana in Maseru, Lesotho.
However, the strongest demonstration of the institution's continued commitment to quality was the Vice-Chancellor's announcement that starting from January 2016 all staff members will get 100 percent of their tuition costs paid on all Botho Programmes, including many new Masters and PhD programmes.
"Every day as I come in to work, I thank god for giving me an opportunity to work with all of you wonderful, hardworking and smart people," gushed Mrs. Raja Ram. "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the effort you have taken to make BU a high quality example of excellence."
Botho University in collaboration with the Masire-Mwamba Office hosted the first ever Cafe Commonwealth Roundtable
In its continued efforts to empower the youth as leaders of tomorrow, Botho University recently joined hands with the Masire-Mwamba Office in hosting the first ever Cafe Commonwealth. The session, which was meant to give the youth an opportunity to deliberate on issue around Sustainable Development Goals and their relevance to Botswana and the Commonwealth, attracted a high number of attendants. In true spirit of unity as embodied by the commonwealth countries, the program kick started with a parade of flags representing all the 53 member states. The climax of the day as could be expected was the youth engagement session where the youth led engaging and exciting discussions on sustainable development. The discussion took the form of roundtables where each table had a host representing a particular country within 53 countries. The host lead the discussion on the performance of their country with regards to different areas of the Sustainable Development Goals and how far their country has come in terms of attaining Sustainability. Other presenters of the day included the keynote speaker Mr Timothy Maurice who enlightened the attendees on issues of personal branding; and how best to position yourself as an individual and Mrs Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba who talked about leadership development amongst others.
Botho University sports teams still undefeated for 2015/2016 season
Botho University shines at the BOTESSA National Championship competitions which were held at the University of Botswana grounds on the 23rd-25th October 2015. They are once again the Champions with 3 Gold medals, 5 silver medals, 2 Bronze medals.
The Annual championships are meant to build solidarity amongst students, to exploit talent and prepare for international games. These competitions are attended by athletes from different universities, colleges of education, institutes of health sciences and technical colleges in Botswana. Since 2010 BOTESSA contributed athletes to various national teams in the form of Mogakolodi 'Tsotso' Ngele, Lemogang Maswena, Thato Bolweleng, Oteng Oteng to name a few who went on to represent the country with distinction in various international competitions
The 2016 SUSI Exchange program successful
On the 8th January 2016, Botho University bid farewell to two of their top students, Pako Mmereki from the Gaborone campus and Naomi Guga from the Francistown Campus who embarked on a journey to the Civic Engagement for student leaders Study of the U.S Institutes (SUSI) program. SUSI is a five-to-six week academic program designed for small groups of foreign undergraduate students, scholars, and teachers. The program aims to promote a better understanding of American people, explore the diversity, culture and expand curricula on U.S. studies in colleges and universities around the world. The selection criteria includes academic excellence; students of good standing that have a passion for community service and the students should be 18-25 years old doing their third or final year of study. Four students have been selected from Botswana, of which two are from Botho University.
The students were enthusiastic to have been given this opportunity and they believe that their experience will be a one. Botho University believes that when the students leave the U.S they will be confident and better individual induced with leadership for social skills acquired from the 6 week program.
Abraham and Goemeone crowned Mr and Miss Botho University 2015/2016
Abraham Motsumi and Goemeone Masole were crowned Mr and Miss Botho University 2015/2016 respectively on the 4th of October 2015. The event was deemed to be quite a success for both the contestants and the Botho University SRC as it attracted 23 contestants in total.
The other runner ups were Tshepang Radira Who walked away with 2nd princess, Marang Mophuting 2nd prince, Keitsholetse Mokgalagadi 1st princess and Star Chibemba as 1st prince.
The event attracted many people including students from other tertiary institutions like Gaborone Technical College, Limkokwing University and University of Botswana. The atmosphere was pregnant with joy and excitement as the entertainment sector was pioneered by the then Minister of Entertainment Ricardo Bakwali, who brought the very best in Botswana music industry. The lineup included the likes of DJ Kuchi, DJ Scratch, A.T.I, Diablo Apollo and many more.
The event was graced and opened by Mrs Priya Iyer, the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Employability and Development at Botho University and it was the most highly attended show of the year.
Vice President Officially Opens Botho University Francistown Campus
On the 28th of January 2016 His Honour the Vice President Mr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, MP officially opened the new state-of-the-art campus Botho University has built in Francistown at a special ceremony attended by various dignitaries.
During his keynote address the Honourable Vice President recognised Botho University’s efforts in producing quality graduates for the Botswana economy, putting particular emphasis on the institution’s status as the first and still only university with the BOS ISO 9001: 2008 Certified Organisation status.
He also highlighted the university’s participation in the African Quality Rating Mechanism, an initiative of the African Union, where BU’s programmes have been rated as good and the institution’s selection to validate the process of establishing the Pan African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework. “I am confident that with this commitment to quality and standards, Botho University will rise to the challenge and do its part in contributing to dealing with the national economic and social challenges,” Masisi said of these efforts.
During his remarks the Botho University Advisory Council Chairperson Mr. Thembo Lebang explained that BU used the experience earned from the development of the Gaborone Campus, which was started in 2007 and has grown over the years, to design and improve the Francistown Campus.
Many features have stayed the same including the same grid based structure, which was designed to maximize the usable space of the building, the large covered courtyard and large corridors and multiple staircases to reduce crowding and noise. However, the Francistown campus was also a leap into a new more energy efficient and greener campus, with a fully LED-lit campus, and prospects of alternative water sources for landscaping.
The Francistown campus is also fully mobility-friendly with ramps and multiple elevators to service the building. It has 100% power back up, a first aid room and a custom designed Botho Testing Centre for all online exam requirements. A large area of the campus has been dedicated to a full sports complex with multiple sports codes being catered for including the future turfed football field, and adequate space to put sports seating around the courts.
Botho University started the search for a suitable site for the new campus in Francistown from as early as 2010 but only managed to identify and procure the appropriate site in 2013. The site was handed over to the contractor after a stringent tendering process in April 2014 and the project was completed and handed over in November 2015. Construction was completed within the planned 19 months and within budget.
“On this day, we are witnessing the long awaited growth in the Education industry, of private facilities opening their doors and expanding across the lengths and breadths of Botswana, to ease access for our children to higher education,” declared the Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development Hon. Fidelis M. Molao during his remarks.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Her Worship the Mayor of Francistown, the District Commissioner, the Vice-Chancellor of Botho University, and Members of Parliament for Francistown South, East and West constituencies, among others.
Botho University Partners with World Tourism Forum Lucerne
Botho University has signed an MoU with the World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) to partner on the Young Talent Programme, an interdisciplinary platform which offers decision-makers in business, politics, science and finance an overview of current topics and trends in the global tourism industry.
The World Tourism Forum Lucerne aims to connect tourism industry professionals of all generations from around the globe and across various sectors including industry, education, governments, and corporations. The Young Talent Programme of World Tourism Forum Lucerne contributes to this aim by fostering intergenerational communication within the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as well as by sensitising CEOs and other industry leaders to the issue of Talent Pipeline.
Botho University is one of 18 partner universities spread across five different continents including institutions originating from Switzerland, Australia, China, Brazil and Germany, amongst others, and is only the second partner university in Africa.
According to Simon Lloyd, Head of Department for Hospitality and Sustainable Eco-Tourism at Botho University, “The World Tourism Forum Lucerne is a unique opportunity for Botho University. It provides us with an opportunity to learn from thought leaders in all the sectors of the tourism industry and all regions of the globe; discovering the latest trends and potential future challenges. We can then incorporate this into our programmes to ensure that our graduates are not only ready for today’s tourism industry but are also prepared to drive Botswana’s tourism industry into the future.”
All students of the Forum’s partner universities can apply for participation in the Young Talent Programme of World Tourism Forum Lucerne. The top talents will be recruited in collaboration with a board of professors and Korn Ferry, the Premium Partner of WTFL. The Young Talents will be invited to the Forum, in Lucerne, Switzerland, and get the unique opportunity to exchange ideas with top managers from all over the world.
The selected students will enjoy free participation in the event, which includes presentations, workshops, official breaks and meals; as well as participation in the special programme before the official opening of the Forum, which includes a tailor-made career planning workshop and paper discussion session; along with the possibility of joining the optional programme after the Forum, including activities such as skiing and sightseeing. Thanks to the support of the Forum’s Talent Management sponsors, flights and accommodation will also be complimentary.
The programme will be held in Switzerland in May 2017 and the application process closed on 30th May 2016.
If you’re interested in participating get more information about the Young Talent Management Programme at: http://wtflucerne.org/young-talents/
Botho University at Lesotho Higher Education Fair 2016
Botho University was on hand as the Council on Higher Education hosted the 3rd Higher Education Fair on the 24th and 25th of February 2016 at Lehakoe Cultural Centre in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The University participated with a comprehensive team of staff members who assisted prospective students with all the information they required for their career decisions. Between 2000 and 2500 students were assisted at the BU Stall in a span of two days.
The team organised online registration for ease of tracking and follow-up after the fair with the University’s campus at Maseru Mall. Prospective students were assisted by well-trained friendly BU students who provided the visitors with printed information booklets about programmes offered and career choices available at Botho University, Lesotho. Experienced admissions staff supervised all the activities including online registration and student support.
Botho University put up an excellent student counselling and registration desk and branded their stall in a very professional and impressive manner leading them to win 1st prize for the “BEST UNIVERSITY AWARD” as well as the “BEST OVERALL UNIVERSITY AWARD” for 2016.
The fair was inaugurated by the Honourable Deputy Minister of Education and Training of the Kingdom of Lesotho Mr. Thabang Kholumo.