Advertise with kutlwano
Home » Volume 55 Issue 4- February-March 2018 » Feature » Article Details

BIUST strives to be centre of innovation

On the outskirts of Palapye, in a mildly sloping land located in the backdrop of the nearby Tswapong Hills, lies the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).

Dubbed ‘the second university’ by the public during its plenary years in the early to mid 2000s, BIUST has gone on to develop a life of its own, and seeks to become a centre of innovation.

“Our stated mission is to produce world class research and innovation in science, engineering and technology,” Keoagile Rafifing, the Director, Communications and Public Affairs explains in a wide ranging interview with Kutlwano.

Reclining on a comfortable chair in his office at the BIUST administrative bloc, the bubbly Rafifing says the intention of their institution is to produce industry leaders who could contribute to Botswana developing a knowledge-based economy.

“We provide relevant, innovative, quality research intensive eduation of an international standard. 

All of our academic staff have the qualification of a PhD (doctorate), and we have a curriculum geared at producing innovators,” Rafifing says.

BIUST is testament to how far the country has come in educational matters.  Just before independence, the University of Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland was set up, and the institution soon renamed the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland or UBLS was shared by three autonomous states.

After the withdrawal of Lesotho in 1975, the institution continued as the University of Botswana and Swaziland, while the two states worked on evolving their own singular national public universities.

With Botswana having been one of the poorest nations in the world at independence, the government was not awash with funds to construct a public university. 

As such a public appeal, the one man one beast ‘motho le motho kgomo’ was instituted and through public contributions the government was able to establish the University of Botswana in 1982.

BIUST on the other hand came into being at a point where the country had already benefited from the post independence commodity boom, and P1 billion worth of capital investment accompanied the funding of the institution.

“We have currently enrolled 1 900 students, including 70 post-graduate and 56 international students,” elaborates Rafifing. 

“You will recall that most of Batswana science and engineering students have been trained abroad with at huge cost to the taxpayers.  Today, we are able to produce our own scientists and engineers.”

At full capacity, BIUST intends to serve around 6 000 full time undergraduate, masters and doctorate students by the 2022-23 academic year.

In order to ensure that BIUST provides quality education BIUST made a determined effort to recruit staff with critical skills in the international market place, which Rafifing says would also bring skills transfer to the students and the domestic academic scene.

“In order to attract world class academics and researchers; we provide world class infrastructure and core facilities and forge collaboration with research partners to gain access to strategic research infrastructure and expertise. 

Our job vacancies are also placed in regional and international newspapers,” Rafifing adds.
BIUST has conducted outreach programmes conducted at both primary and secondary schools from different parts of the country, including Ghanzi, Tsabong, Shakawe, Gumare, Serowe, Selibe-Phikwe, Maung, Masunga, Kang, Bokspits, Kanye, and Jwaneng.

“We have also conducted capacity building for science teachers, and thus far, 446 teachers have been exposed to this exciting programme. 

An additional 326 teachers and school administrators have been exposed to ICT teacher training in the Central District,” Rafifing adds.

The contribution of BIUST to its immediate community goes further; land degradation monitoring in partnership with the Palapye Administration Authority, as well as a planned Women’s Empowerment Project, whose pillars are to offer a six month business skills training and and apprenticeship at no cost to out of school, unemployed, and unskilled women interested in income-generating crafts.

A tour of the campus reveales that only a fraction of the 2 500 hectare of land has been utilised, which gives BIUST the chance for future expansion and innovative us of the large at their disposal.  
In future, the university aims to develop science, engineering and technology research park centres on campus.

At a time when there have been many private institutions of higher learning that have mushroomed into the Botswana educational sector, the state universities- University of Botswana, BIUST and the Botswana University of Natural Resource Management (BUAN) have maintained a niche with their emphasis on striving for quality standards.

This is certainly evident at BIUST as the institution pursues its mandate of ensuring that Botswana produces qualified personnel in the fields of science, technology and engineering.

Buy Now Online

Polling

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccination against cervical cancer starts on February 23-27. Vaccination will be given to girls in standard 5,6 and 7 and out of school girls aged 9-13. Are you worried about how this could affect?

It can save my childís life.
OMG!!I am not comfortable with the vaccination. Is it safe?
Itís safe and effective
result

Blogs

Beauty Tips

Beauty Tips

read more »

Finace Tips

Finace Tips

read more »

Health Tips

Health Tips

read more »

Recipes Tips

Recipes Tips

read more »

Travel Tips

Travel Tips

read more »

email us 800 space dailynewsonline Kutlwano Kutlwano