- Norris says aim is to export expertise and advanced services
- Minister Letsholathebe urges UB to prioritise research
The University of Botswana (UB) has officially launched its 40-year anniversary celebrations.
Speaking at an event to commence UB 40th Anniversary Celebrations in Gaborone recently, Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris said the forty-year old milestone represents a time to make a shift in life, realignment and readjustment of its priorities. “As a university, we have entered this particularly important development stage and the time is now that the university reflects on its past,” Professor Norris said. “It is time it introspects and questions itself as to whether it is still playing a truly meaningful role in the society.”
He added that UB has doubtlessly contributed to Botswana’s human capital development. There are therefore reasons to celebrate because the school has recorded tremendous achievements throughout its existence. But still, he said, there is a need to reflect as UB plans for the future. Professor Norris said this is a time for the university to introspect and ask itself whether it has truly lived up to the mandate for which it was established. “We need to be looking into the future and it is compelling that we transform to become an ‘engaged’ university, a university that transforms lives,” he emphasised.
Making a reference to recent changes that are even visible, he said he is on course to transform UB into a key state-owned enterprise (SOE) around which economic activities will be anchored. Professor Norris said these include working in contexts such as economic hubs, clusters, accelerators, centres of excellence and forming strategic partnerships that directly align to the national growth plan. “We are on a trajectory to become the leading net exporter of education, knowledge-content, expertise and advanced services and skills to the SADC market and beyond,” he said. Officiating at the event, the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, described the anniversary as a historic moment in the existence of UB as an institution of higher learning.
Minister Letsholathebe assured the management of UB that it will continue to get support from the government because of its contribution to nation building. He noted that since October 1982, UB has produced over 84 000 graduates in Bachelors, Masters and PhD programmes. Commending the school’s efforts over the last four decades, Dr Letsholathebe said more can still be achieved and urged UB to consider prioritising research because it is crucial to development an attainment of knowledge.