Botho University Lesotho students given tablet devices for Learning
On 1st April, 2016, Botho University students in Lesotho were issued tablet devices at a ceremony graced by Honourable Thabang Kholumo, Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Lesotho. The event was held at Baduza Park near the Maseru Campus. The initiative is part of Botho University’s efforts to reach out to students beyond the classroom and provide them with advanced technological tools that support learning in a higher education environment.
BU Francistown Campus Hosts Successful 2016 Career Fair
The Department of Student Affairs and Alumni in Francistown campus held its career fair for students and alumni on the 7th of April, 2016, under the theme ‘Enhancing graduate employability through industry connections’.
The well-attended event gave Botho University graduates an opportunity to interact and learn about career prospects in line with their field of study. Several business entities and government departments such as the Ministry of Youth Sports & Culture, Gender Affairs, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, First National Bank Botswana, and Botswana Defence Force set up stalls at the event that were characterised by health talks, awareness messages and discussions.
Some of the distinguished guests that graced the event included Dean for the office of Student, Research & Outreach, Dr. Bathsheba Mbongwe; Executive Chairman of Tati Group of companies, Mr. Abel Khupe; and Alumni motivator, Mr. Manuel Ricardo.
During his keynote address, the guest of honour Mr. Khupe appealed to companies and government departments to give students and graduates opportunities to acquire exposure and experience through internships, voluntary work and job shadowing in their respective companies. Khupe also shared the story of his own humble beginnings to reach the high level he occupies today in hopes of inspiring the students in attendance. He also expressed elation at the number of exhibiting companies, applauding them for their dedication and cooperation, adding that he believes the fair is also a good marketing opportunity for them not only to reach the Botho Community but the world at large.
Dr. Mbongwe shared the mandate of the Department of Student Affairs and Alumni with the audience. She explained that the department offers an array of career development services such as the students’ mentorship program, counselling, job searches and placement, local and international internships, and development workshops, as a way of equipping students with necessary and relevant skills which will enable them to be competitive in the job market. Mbongwe highlighted that these services are offered in all Botho University centres, Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Maseru, adding that this shows the commitment the university has in educating the nation of Botswana and beyond.
Mr. Ricardo Manuel also gave an inspiring motivational speech in which he urged Botho university students and alumni to be different, creative and think outside the box. He implored them to utilise the many opportunities availed by the government in starting up their own businesses.
In giving a vote of thanks, the Francistown Centre Manager, Mr. Joseph Gwekwerere, applauded all companies, media houses and government departments that were represented at the career fair for having contributed to the success of the event.
Botho University wins the SADC Annual Quality Awards in Lesotho
Botho University has won the Lesotho Service of the Year award in the SME’s category at the Lesotho and SADC Quality Awards 2015/2016. The university received the award for a locally delivered service that best reflects commitment to local quality service. As the winner of the national award, Botho University will be entered into the regional SADC competition.
The purpose of the SADC Annual Quality Awards competition is to encourage SADC businesses, private and public sector institutions to implement standards and quality procedures in their operations. Companies are recognized for having robust quality management systems that have demonstrably contributed to the growth of their businesses. The competition also provides SADC with a platform and an opportunity for local individuals and industries to be more aware of quality issues and cognisant of the fact that success of products in local markets is due in part to excellent quality which translates to success in regional and international markets.
The competition is supported by SADC member states as the procedures for the implementation of this quality award competition were approved by the SADC Committee of Ministers of Trade and Industry (CMT), at their meeting held on 19 June 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Botho University Students Raise Money for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
A group of Botho University students, in collaboration with a lecturer of the institution, successfully organised a fundraising gala dinner which collected more than P400, 000 to aid charity organisation Masiela Trust Fund in the care of orphans and vulnerable children.
The dinner was held at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on the 22nd of April 2016 and the Honourable Minister of Education and Skills Development Dr. Unity Dow was the Key Note Speaker.
40 tables were sold at a price of P5, 000 per table, totalling P200, 000, and further donations were given by Debswana at P200, 000, individuals at P45, 000 and Sefalana at P5, 000. Additionally, AT&T Monnakgotla pledged a monthly donation of P1, 000 and another 2, 000 from its board members.
Grand Palm pledged P6, 390 worth of vouchers; Executive Catering pledged free décor and food; while Air Botswana pledged to transport airline donations to Masiela Trust Fund; and Motor Centre pledged a monthly car service. Even the Honourable Minister herself was moved to pledge an additional P10, 000, bringing the total money raised to around P469, 000.
The project was initiated by a module Botho University students take during their first year of study, which is aimed at equipping students with the skills to identify a need in their respective communities and to develop different strategies to serve those needs. Groups of students are given the responsibility of developing a unique project, with the support of their lecturer, which helps to overcome a social problem in the community. Since this student project was first introduced in 2010 there have been many success stories and this is one of them.
The students who initiated this inspiring project, which they fittingly titled ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, were Botho Bernard, Bakang Moxhamae, Tshepo Fane and Tebo Semmo. They were supported by their lecturer Ms. Loniah Motsie.
BU Students Host Hospitality Industry Panel Discussion
On the 6th of May Botho University students successfully hosted the institution’s first Panel Discussion with hospitality sector leaders under the theme “Careers in the Hospitality Industry”.
The event was unique in the sense that it was organised by students, for students, with only the support of the Hospitality and Sustainable Eco-Tourism Department and Student Services. The esteemed panellists included Grand Palm Hotel Manager Kevin Cloete, Avani Hotel Manager Mazwi Mmango, Air Botswana Guest Relations Manager Candice Selato, and Grand Palm Training Manager Lesego Mongalo.
The discussion explored questions concerning the panellists’ personal development in the hospitality industry; their reasons for persevering in hotel operations despite the difficult conditions; the most important qualities they search for during recruitment; and how a young person can find their niche in the diverse hospitality industry.
“Owing to the success of the event, we aim to host a number of different events next semester, which will be open to all students of the University,” says Simon Lloyd, Head of Department of Hospitality and Sustainable Eco-Tourism. “In our last event there were students from other programmes, actively participating and asking questions and we would like to see this happen even more to help change the perception of working in the hospitality industry.”
Graduates Urged to Become Global Citizens
Botho University held yet another set of successful graduation ceremonies at the Gaborone and Francistown campuses of the institution on the 27th of May 2016.
During her welcome remarks to the University’s 18th graduation ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Sheela Raja Ram, proudly indicated that this year the institution produced 831 graduates from its three Botswana campuses. She also indicated to the audience that Botho University recently launched its first international campus in Lesotho, Maseru, where similar graduation ceremonies of globally ready graduates are expected.
“There just aren’t enough jobs for all of you; Botswana’s small economy will not accommodate all graduating students in the workforce,” Mrs. Raja Ram said to the gathered graduates, urging them to strive to become global citizens and to view Africa’s problems as opportunities for them to create their own niche.
Director of Phakalane Estates, Mr. Thola Magang, commended Botho University’s evident commitment to empowering young Batswana through quality education during his Keynote Address. He then advised graduates to be persistent and bold as they enter the business world, adding, “If plan A doesn’t work, remember that there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.”
One of the highlights of every Botho University graduation ceremony is the Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama Spirit of Botho award which is given to a graduate whose performance has been impressive both inside and beyond the classroom. The 2016 award went to a young lady with an impressive portfolio; former SRC member, Miss Botho University 2013/2014 and Girl Power Club founder, Ms. Pearl Koloka, went home with the prize of P10, 000.
Botho University at Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair
Botho University Francistown participated in this year’s Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair held at Francistown Gerald Estates from the 25th to the 29th of May. Botho University earned the bronze medal, emerging in position three out of thirteen competing institutions in the Education sector.
The Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair is an annual event which gives organisations from different sectors the opportunity to showcase their products and services. The Northern Trade Fair was staged over the course of five days and saw an increased number of exhibitors compared to the previous year from various sectors of the economy.
It was Botho University’s fourth successive exhibition, and the institution was among more than 100 exhibitors, ranging from government departments to private companies and parastals to non-governmental organisations, gathered under one roof to share their different products and services with the community.
The newly constructed Botho University Francistown Campus was met with excitement by both students and members of the public and the University’s participation in the event was an overall success.
Botho University Launches Lesotho Campus
On the 16th of May, Botho University’s first international campus, located in the Kingdom of Lesotho’s capital city Maseru, was officially launched.
Honourable Dr. Phamotse, Minister of Education and Training for the Kingdom of Lesotho, officially launched the campus and during her remarks she thanked the institution’s management for taking the initiative to open the University in Maseru. She also assured Botho University management that the Lesotho government would provide all the necessary assistance in enabling the cause of quality education in the country.
During her remarks, Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sheela Raja Ram encouraged the students to apply themselves to their studies and to prepare themselves not just to find employment in Lesotho but to pursue career opportunities across the African continent and beyond. She also assured the Minister of Education and Training that the Botho University staff fully recognise their responsibility to the Basotho people and are confident that they can make a positive social impact to Lesotho society.
Among others who graced the occasion were three other Honourable Ministers of the Kingdom of Lesotho including the Minister of Development Planning, the Minister of Water Resources, and the Minister in the Prime Minister's office.
Botho University Chancellor Mr. Raja Ram was also on hand along with the Chairman of the institution’s Advisory Council and various Pro-Vice Chancellors and Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellors. Several members of the Botswana Qualification Authority and the Human Resource Development Council as well as staff members and students also attended.
Botho University Marches in Solidarity of Breastfeeding
On the 10th of June Botho University staff members participated in the Breastfeeding Solidarity Campaign March from the Three Dikgosi Monument to Railpark Mall in Gaborone. The institution saw it fit to take part in in this campaign as it aims to support and emphasise the need for breastfeeding to be accepted in the workplace.
Botho University has students and staff members who are forced to leave their babies with parents, helpers or grandmothers because they fear the reaction they might provoke by breastfeeding their children in public. The institution believes that this is an unfortunate scenario that must be overcome for the benefit of both the mothers and the children.
The main objective of the campaign was to equip members of the public to protect, support and promote breastfeeding in an endeavour to improve survival and developmental outcomes of children in Botswana.
Botho University donated 300 bottles of water to support the campaign and set up a stall to help explain to the public what this campaign is trying to achieve and why it matters. Other organisations involved in the march included UNICEF, La Leche League, Botswana Breastfeeding Association, Men & Boys for Gender Equality, the Catholic Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Islamic Women’s Group, Consumer Watchdog Botswana, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
Botho University Participates in World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
Botho University took part in commemorations of the World Telecommunication & Information Society Day held in Thamaga on the 17th of 2016 under the theme, “ICT entrepreneurship for social impact.”
Botho University and other stakeholders within the ICT Sector such as Botswana Innovation Hub, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited, Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Botswana Fibre Networks, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority,Mascom,Orange andBe-Mobile enjoyed an eventful day of learning, engaging and sharing on challenges, achievements and the future of ICT in Botswana.
Botho University setup a stall to highlight the ICT courses that the University offers which was visited by members of the Thamaga community as well as the dignitaries and other invited guests of the commemorations.
Botho University has shown its commitment to ICT through many initiatives, including the staging of Linkz, The Botho University Inter Campus ICT Challenge. Linkz is a competition which pits tertiary and secondary students from across the country in a battle of technological skill and is the only contest of its kind in Botswana. First staged in 2009 and initially open only to tertiary education institutions, the Linkz ICT Challenge eventually opened its doors to secondary schools in a bid to develop ICT skills at high school level and help students choose their career path within the ICT industry. It will take place again this year on the 16thof September.
Botho University will maintain its commitment to ICT educationin its broader goal of transforming the higher education landscape of Botswana.