- 25 November 2016
PROF. TOTOLO ADDRESSES COUNCIL MEMBERS ON THE NEWLY LAUNCHED STRATEGY
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Otlogetswe Totolo presented the newly launched Strategic plan to Palapye Sub District Council members at the Full Council Meeting on November 22nd, 2016. The primary objective of the presentation was to share with Honourable Councillors the new BIUST Strategy Plan 2016 - 2022, entitled “A Catalyst for Innovation and Transformation”.
The six (6) year strategic plan was developed in consultation with key stakeholders in government, parastatals and the private sector, and approved by the BIUST Council in June 2016. This was to ensure that it is aligned to the National Development Plans, Vision 2036 and Human Resources Development Strategy and Plans.
This strategic plan forms the cornerstone of the aspirations of the University as the strategy also includes the new vision, mission, core values and strategic themes. The plan also ensures that the University is playing its meaningful role in terms of assisting the government of Botswana in its aspirations of transforming Botswana into a knowledge-based economy.
Prof. Totolo explained to the Councillors that one of the roles of the University has a key role to play in the development of its immediate neighbourhood and the District level economic cluster through the provision of its expertise to provide solutions to local community problems and to assist business and industry to develop and grow.
He expounded that already there are some of the initiatives that the University has embarked on in a bid to assist the local community, highlighting some of the various projects undertaken by BIUST for Palapye community and the surrounding areas such the Computer Training for Central District Teachers, indicating that BIUST trained 324 teachers in Introduction to Computers. Prof. Totolo added that for two consecutive years the University co-sponsored ICT Fair Central District hosted in Palapye.
Prof. Totolo indicated that in terms of Research, the University in partnership with the Palapye Administrative Authority, has started a research on “Monitoring land degradation in the Central District: A three tier land degradation index mapping funded by USAID at US$22,700.00, BIUST to contributing US$18,100.00’’ adding that the study identified and quantified major land uses, examined the type, extent and intensity of land degradation in Palapye area, as well as developing a land degradation index & map.
He explained that another research by a Postgraduate Student on “Developing a geo-spatial information based land quality evaluation model for rain-fed farming in Botswana". Research has been done in Palapye and Serowe areas.
Prof. Totolo further indicated that In terms of Community partnerships, one of the students clubs, the Scientists, Engineers Without Boarders BIUST (SWEBB) which aims at improving the lives of the less fortunate in and around Palapye through corporate social responsibility, undertook some initiatives, highlighting some of the projects such as the Dikabeya projects in which the students built a toilet at the Dikabeya main Kgotla to the value of BWP5, 000. “The University also partnered with University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, to connect pipes from 10 km borehole to the village for easy access of water as well as the refurbishment of the existing clinic” adding that “in another project the students are to build bridge across Lotsane River” he said.
Prof. Totolo explained that with regard to Community Outreach Programmes, the University through the Directorate of Pre-University Academic Programmes has embarked on a pilot study with Serorome Primary School, which involves the whole school but with specific attention to Standard Six classes which started in January 2016 and will end in December 2017. The “aims of the study is to engage learners with hands-on, mentored science and facilitating teachers with skills they need to instil a passion for science in their students, to make science fun, dynamic and easy to understand with observation, experiments, demonstrations and hands-on activities aimed at helping students to develop new understandings leading to enjoyment, learning and a passion for science as well as to popularise and demystify science.
The Councillors applauded Prof. Totolo’s presentation, expressing their gratitude on the initiatives undertaken by the University to assist in developing the community. Some of the councillors indicated that already they have met the University lectures and students in their areas doing various kind of research. The Councillors further requested Prof. Totolo to continue visiting various areas in and around Palapye to asses further how they can benefit from a wealth of expertise from the University community as well as to seek advices from the Councillors as and when there is need.