The Botho University Industry Feedback Session
On the 27th of October 2016, Botho University, through the Department of Students & Alumni Affairs, held a successful Industry Feedback & Appreciation Meeting for its Stakeholders in various initiatives. The relevant initiatives include Sports, Culture and Talent Development, Entrepreneurship Development, Community Engagement, Career & Personal Growth Development, Academic Internships and Graduate Placement. Barclays Bank of Botswana, EOH Consulting, Career Pool Africa, SADC, Botswana Innovation Hub, and Leaf Environmentals Botswana are some of the companies that graced the event.
he purpose of the breakfast meeting was not only to catch up with Stakeholders who have been very instrumental in the realization of most of the activities in the SAAD Department, but also to inform them about other activities towards the development of Botho graduates across the University Departments, including faculties.
This opportunity was also used to source advice, opinions and experiences in working with the Botho University Graduate. The general sentiments shared by most stake holders emphasized the development of a Botho Graduate's soft skills. They expressed satisfaction with the technical skills offered by the students. Most of the stakeholders also emphasized the need to instill business ethics in our students and commended the Students & Alumni Affairs Department for taking the initiative to cultivate practical skills amongst the students.
All the represented stakeholders expressed satisfaction in the partnerships they have with Botho University and encouraged the University not to hesitate approaching them for partnerships in different endeavors. Some even went a step further by proposing activities; the MD from Leaf Environmentals mentioned her passion for "Women in Sports" Development and her willingness to spare time to do that with the University.
- Kromberg& Schubert expressed interest in partnering for Career Profile Booster Sessions, "Interview Role Plays by Real World Employers", Learnerships and Job Shadowing Opportunities
- EOH Consult wanted to work with the University for Learnerships& Job Shadowing Opportunities.
- Botswana Innovation Hub wanted to be engaged in Entrepreneurship Development Initiatives.
- Huawei proposed that Botho explore possible Technical Partnerships with Huawei Universities, such as Shenzen University, to ensure that our graduates qualify to power Mobile Network providers such as Mascom with applications.
The stake holders also encouraged the University to invest in proper monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, especially on issues of Academic Internships. They encouraged the faculties to also incorporate modules on Basics of Strategy as this was essential for millennial jobs. Botho University was also advised to refocus its strategy on not only producing employable graduates but also entrepreneurial graduates.
The highlight of the feedback was one of our students (KagisoKgasa) on Internship who displayed the very values that Botho University is trying to instill in its students (Proactive, teaching other employees that it is OK to question the status quo and impeccable technical skills).
The two hours of interaction were wrapped up with a Breakfast Networking Session.
Botho University Engages in UNICEF
In response to UNICEF Botswana’s “50 minutes for Children” campaign, which called on the public to show their care for children, Botho University gave back to the community by engaging with children through a series of activities, which took place from September to December 2016.
The Campaign kick-started with a Botho Family Fun Day aimed at Botho University staff and their children. Assorted activities, including baking lessons, basic computer lessons, traditional games and cartoon screening, gave the staff a chance to engage with their colleagues’ children through knowledge-sharing. Botho University, as an educational provider, aimed at teaching children something that they could take home and in turn teach other kids. Botho University also partnered with the Ministry of Local and Rural Development to bring cheer to Mantshwabisi Primary School students. The University staff played sports with the student , share the importance of education and donated education merchandise, including bags and stationery.
Kubung CJSS was the next stop for Botho University, where one of the Management representatives gave a motivational talk on the importance of education. The University also donated stationery and certificates for the best preforming student at the prize giving ceremony.
During a visit to Pilane Primary School, Bohto University staff gave an inspiring speech on the value of learning, as well as stationery and gifts to encourage students to excel in their studies. Another highlight of the campaign was the 50 minutes spent at the Scottish LivingStone Hospital in Molepolole. The University embarked on much-needed face-lift for the paediatric ward, adding a splash of colour and fun activities for the patients, and bringing smiles to the children’s faces.
In a bid to further encourage interaction between the Botho University staff and children in need, Botho University visited Gamodubu Orphanage. During the 50 minutes spent at Gamodubu, the childrenplayed sports and had lunch prepared by the staff from Botho University.
Another excuting activity was the visit to Kamogelo Orphanage, where the Botho University team played games with the children and donated education charts for their playroom.
The University wrapped up the campaign by visiting Old Naledi in Gaborone, engaging professional sporting coaches to come and exchange skills with the youngsters. Children attended in droves, making the final event a resounding success.
BU Ryders Rugby Club Shines at the PTIA Games
The Botho University Ryders brought home the gold during the first Private Tertiary Institution Association (PTIA) Games, hosted by Botho University on 28-30 October 2016 at Wharic Park Stadium.
BU Ryders beat Maun Technical College 28-12 in the 29 October finals. Maun Technical College made it to the finals despite having just established its team, and the game proved a formidable one. Ryders maintained their composure, dominating both halves of the game, and the rookies of the team proved their mettle on the field in defense and through scoring tries.
That wasn’t the only victory for Botho University, as the University’s table tennis team was named overall winner for the 2016 PTIA games.
BU Ryders are part of the national 15’s league, comprised of teams that have shown their ability to win the league over the past several years. Although BU Ryders have yet to beat rugby giants like UB Rhinos and Hogs, the opposition has commended Ryders on their courage and keenness.
During last year’s season BU Ryders competed for the Presidents Cup against the best of the bottom teams in the league. Their win against BAC North guaranteed that they took home the cup.
They also managed to bag a sponsorship deal from My Spar Botswana, Knight Frank, Simikit and FNB Botswana Foundation during a launch on 22nd July 2016 at the Gaborone Campus. The boon came after the BU Ryders struggled to secure sponsorship and, as a result, lost players to other teams. My Spar Botswana provided the team with a new kit, ensuring that BU Ryders are now fully equipped to take on the competition.
Francistown Campus Hosts Cultural Diversity Day
The 2016 Cultural Day was eagerly awaited with great joy and high expectations. After much effort and preparation, our students reveled in the opportunity to celebrate their cultural identities.
On the 7th of October 2016 Botho University held its annual Cultural Day, a fitting celebration at the end of the Botswana 50th Anniversary Independence Celebration. The event involved students and staff coming together to share food and performances from many of the ethnic groups which make up the Botho University community. The event was hosted by the Department of Student Affairs & Alumni in collaboration with the Student Representative Council (SRC) under the theme ‘Ngwao Yame Boipelo Jwame’, loosely translated “My Culture, My Pride”. The main objective of the event was to appreciate and celebrate the diverse cultures in Botho University. Activities at the event included food tasting, displays of cultural attire, music, dance and art.
The activities started in the morning with participants displaying their dishes and giving out the recipes. There was a variety of indigenous cuisine prepared by staff members and students .The event attendees also had the opportunity to taste the food. It was a memorable event that attracted a large number of both staff members and students.
In the end prizes were awarded for best dressed persons for both staff and students. The event was graced by the General Manager of Ebat Group of Companies, who was the lead organizer of the annual Northern Letlhafula festival.
Botho University International Research Conference (BUIRC): Moving Towards a Knowledge Based Society
The Botho University International Research Conference (BUIRC) took place at Botho University’s Gaborone campus on the 15th and 16th November 2016. Botho University for the past 5 years has continually brought together experts, prolific authors, well renowned researchers and interested stakeholders during its annual Botho University International Research Conference to dialogue on various research issues cutting across specializations in Education, Engineering, Computing, Business, Finance and Accounting and lately in Hospitality and Tourism. This endeavor drew international attention to a budding private owned university and placed it on the same pedestal with some well established universities.
BUIRC, was attended by knowledge-driven organizations, including universities, which are greatly affected by the rapid advances in information and communications technology. The conference was organized around a competitive call for papers and lasted for two days, presenting a special forum for academics, researchers, industry practitioners, policy makers and students to discuss thought-provoking ideas.
During the conference, the launch of the first academic journal took place when the Botho University leadership developed the Botho University’ Journal of African Higher Education by the university’s own Vice Chancellor Dr. Sheela Raja Ram. The intention of this journal is to publish papers presented in every BUIRC conference every 6 months after hosting the conference. Botho University’s position in the academic will further be realized and relationships in research collaborations, visiting teaching professorships and student exchanges would be enhanced.
Bokgeleke Arts and Culture Festival Sizzles
The annual Botho University Arts and Culture Festival held on the 27th October 2016, proved a success once again, as multi-talented students from local universities came to showcase their capabilities on a day dedicated to a celebration of cultural diversity. When speaking at the event Mr Tebogo Matebesi , Chairman of the annual cultural festival said “Botho University is a multi-cultural environment with students from different parts of Africa, established this event to give students a platform for cultural exchange through a showcase of their talents.”
He went on to express his excitement about the upcoming Bokgeleke festival , that students should take advantage of this platform as it only grooms them to get better at expressing their culture through their talent. “We host this festival yearly to give students a chance to improve their craft and try again and ultimately win the grand prize.”
The festival, which brought a lot of talent to one stage at the Botho University Multi Purpose Hall, was a marvel to watch. Besides the display of traditional and cultural artifacts, traditional groups were also invited to entertain the audience. Assorted local cuisine prepared for the guests included dikgobe, bogobe jwa lerotse, kabu, serobe, seswaa, samp and many more. The revelers had a chance to sample each dish to appreciate Botswana’s diverse cuisine and then try their hand at traditional games such as Mhele, Koi, Diketo and Dithini.
The music festival was a spectacle as singers, dancers, poets, and actors came to demonstrate their talents. A host of local celebrities graced the judges’ table: Dollar Mac and Fox from Yarona Fm and Miss P of Big Brother fame, who had a tough time selecting one winner from the pool of talented youth competing for the Bokgeleke title. It was no simple feat, and the audience did not make it any easier as they too had their favorites.
In the end, the overall winner was a poet who recited his poem in Kalanga and amazed the audience. His knowledge and understanding of his culture, coupled with a flair for performance, won the cheering support of the crowd as well as the judges’ votes.
Botho University's Glitzy Gatsby Party
The Botho University Staff Christmas party and Excellence Awards were held on Friday 9th December 2016 for the Gaborone campus. The glitzy affair, themed “The Great Gatsby”, proved to be a fun way to end the year and staff looked regal in their costumes.
The awards for the night were categorized in the following: The Research excellence awards: for Botho University staff, where staff doing research make successful proposals for funding and based on the research output points, all staff members who have obtained 4 research output points are nominated for research excellence awards. The person with the top most points has been awarded the winner in each of the campuses. Service excellence awards: staff members in all support roles who have come together as a team in making Botho a first choice University that students and staff want to associate with. Teaching excellence awards: which is about the promotion of excellent teaching and learning as our core function in Botho University. This year, all teaching staff across our 3 campuses have put in a lot of commendable effort in ensuring that our students get the best learning experience that only Botho University can offer. Appreciation Award for Sports coaches: as Botho University, we pride ourselves in being one of the best in sporting events in the country. Credit goes to the teams that make us proud but all these are the result of a lot of hard work put in by a number of people behind the scenes.
The performance line-up included live jazz performances by renowned local artist Fresh Les, who brought the house down with his illustrious saxophone.
Botho University Entrepreneurship Lab, A Hub for Innovation
Botho University successfully launch an Entrepreneurship Lab, where students across the curricular spectrum can come together to share ideas, access resources, and come up with innovative approaches to problem solving.
The eLab was established in response to a growing demand from student-entrepreneurs for a space to collaborate and turn their bursts of genius into something tangible. The eLab currently hosts 4 teams of students. The teams were chosen through a selection process by seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts including Rose Tatedi (Symphony Health),Benjamin Raletsatsi (Samsung Retail Stores), Callistus Phologolo (Cally Clothing), Otto Von Rudloff (DAI) and Lynda Kgasoane (DAI).
Since the launch ,the eLab has hosted an Idea Generation & Refinement Workshop supported by EOH Consulting,an Elevator Pitching Workshop by Yame Nkgowe of Seriti UAS Data &Integration, an Introduction to the Business Model Canvas with Dennis Maswabi of Enterprise Botswana, Training on Importance of Market Research for Start Ups with Kabelo Binns of Hotwire PRC, Training on Company Registration & Intellectual Property by CIPA, an Entrepreneurship Activation Session with Percy Raditladi , 3-Day Entrepreneurship Boot Camp in partnership with Udugu Institute, as well as a Public Lecture on Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship with Kojo Parris. In addition, the eLab Resident Entrepreneurs have had sessions with MrPercy Raditladi, Thabo Monthe (owner of The Braai Place) and KabeloBinns (Hotwire PRC).
Botho University plans to establish and nurture fruitful partnerships for the growth of this initiative and looks forward to more enriching training and community outreach initiatives to impart Entrepreneurship Development awareness.
English language fellow at Botho University
Marie Snider from South Carolina, USA, is a visiting lecturer in the Communication and Study Skills Department at Botho University. Marie has been an English teacher for 9 years. She now works as an English Language Fellow, a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Georgetown University in the United States.
Before coming to Botswana, Marie worked in Myanmar in South East Asia for 2 years, where she managed a project for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She taught English for Specific Purposes for the Lower Mekong Initiative, as part of the Professional Communication Skills for Leaders programme for Myanmar and Thailand. Marie also taught English as a Second Language in the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, South Carolina and California, USA, in addition to conducting teacher training workshops in California and Haiti. Her expertise is focused on Professional Communication Skills, Study Skills, Writing, Public Speaking and Speech.
Marie arrived in Botswana on January 10th, 2017. During her stay, Marie will lecture in the Communication Study Skills (CSS) department, teach English, conduct staff and faculty development workshops and innovate and improve faculty programmes. She is currently developing an online course called English 2.
Marie speaks highly of Botswana and has settled in well. The highlight is her experience with the people of Botswana. She describes them as helpful and happy people, making her transition a smooth one. She has adopted the native language to make it easier to communicate with people as she engages in fun activities. She plans on going for game drives and mountain biking to explore Botswana. She also attends local events such as “Jam for Brunch” so she can interact more with people.
Her view of the education system in Botswana is that the children are well behaved and the teachers work very hard. Marie recommends that everyone around the world should focus on critical thinking and ensure that what they are reading is factual. In her classes she always makes sure to develop her students’ critical thinking and analysis skills.
Marie received her BA in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and her MA in TESOL from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Marie's professional interests include Computer Assisted Language Learning, Intercultural Communication, teaching adult learners, and educational development.
CTD Breakfast Event: Maseru, Lesotho
On the 10th of February 2017, the Lesotho Corporate Training Department was launched at a successful breakfast event in Maseru. The event, held at Avani Maseru, attracted over 50 guests from the public and the private sector.
Assistant Dean for Lesotho, Mr. Abhishek Ranjan, took guests through the Botho University journey, from its humble beginnings 20 years ago to its present position as the leading ISO 9001 certified tertiary institution, emphasizing the university’s commitment to providing quality tertiary education. Mr. Billy Batlegang, the Corporate Training Manager, informed guests that the Corporate Training Department has over 200 short courses accredited by the Botswana Qualifications Authority and the Council on Higher Education in Lesotho. Mr. Batlegang explained that these innovative short courses aim to equip employees with the tools and skills needed to enhance their performance. The benefits of training with Botho University’s Corporate Training Department were highlighted, such as the flexibility of delivery methods and customization of courses to meet each individual’s needs.
Mr. Stephen Monyamane Jr. from the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce gave a motivational talk on professional development and stressed the importance of skill enhancement as a means for professionals to stay relevant in their respective careers. He cited examples of the alarming speed at which technology is moving and the need for professionals to keep up with the latest developments by continually upgrading their knowledge. For his part, Mr. Letsatsi Sepiriti from the Lesotho Revenue Authority indicated that manpower development is vital so people can adapt in this ever-changing environment. He encouraged companies to train their employees, as both employees and employers will benefit. Employees enhance their skills and knowledge while companies benefit from tax incentives as outlined by the income tax law section 39 (1), which states that a taxpayer carrying business in Lesotho is allowed to claim 125% of expenditure of training or tertiary education as a tax deductible expense. This means employers who train their staff end up paying lower taxes.
The event concluded with a hearty breakfast where Botho University staff interacted with guests. Since the event, a number of quotations have been sent to companies who expressed interest in training with Botho University. The event was widely covered in Lesotho’s media, such as the Informative Newspaper and the national public broadcaster, Lesotho Television.