Botho University spreads its wings to Lesotho

Botho University spreads its wings to Lesotho

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

BOTHO University vice-chancellor Sheela Raja Ram on Monday said the university is unique because of its small size and the methods they use to teach their students.

The Vice-chancellor was speaking at the university’s official launch at Maseru Mall this week.

The fact that they are small means they are also focused, she said.

“Our focus is on the students, on the methods we can use to reach out to our students. It can be through e-library systems or computerised teaching,” she said.

Ram said when they came to evaluate the situation in Lesotho they saw that their programmes stood a chance in the country.

“There has been a lot of work that was done for a year and half of locating to Lesotho. What you see today is a quarter result of the capacity we have put in. We are coming up slowly but steadily so we do what is right for Lesotho,” Ram said.

She said the fact the university is located at a mall should not be seen as an impediment to the students’ progress.

“It is not the first time we operate from a mall, we have done it in Botswana when we started and we know how to control the challenges of studying in a mall,” Ram said.

“The problem with higher learning is that it is very expensive and more people want it and more cannot afford it, hence we bring education to their door steps through distant learning programmes.”

Botho University was established in 1997 in Botswana and has rapidly evolved over the years and has four campuses in Botswana. It spread its wings into Lesotho last year.

The university has enrolled at least 200 students at its Maseru campus.

Ram said there will have to be a lot of investments for their very own campus to be built in Lesotho.

“We have high quality campuses in Botswana and we will definitely build one for the country if we operate well and have calculated our risks,” Ram said.

The pro-vice-chancellor Ravi Srinivasan said “we understand that students learn in diverse ways, through internet sites, social media and friends”.

“They are very engaged people and we cannot spend much time writing notes on the black board when everything can be offered to them through computers,” Srinivasan said.

“Our classrooms are designed in a way that when a student enters them they totally forget that they are in a mall. The rooms are sound proofed and the total atmosphere changes,” she said.

“We have an experience of handling students in a mall. It is also an advantage that they study in a mall because it helps their minds to relax after a hectic day of work in class rooms,” Srinivasan said.

Speaking at the launch, Education Minister Mahali Phamotse, said the Lesotho government is focused on raising the quality of learning for Basotho.

She said the government seeks to drive forward social mobility by accelerating progress in widening participation so that more talented Basotho can benefit from higher education.

Phamotse said she was happy that another innovative and career-driven university had set base in Lesotho.

She said they celebrate the arrival of the university in Lesotho and encourages the university’s participation in the strengthening of the higher education space.

To ensure that students have real value that reflects their diverse needs, “the Ministry of Education and Training has warmly welcomed institutions of Botho’s calibre to operate locally”.

The university has received accreditation from the Council of Higher Education (CHE) for seven programmes out of the 10 programmes they had submitted.

“Botho University therefore remains one of the safest private institutions locally at which you parents can confidently spend your limited savings by sending your children to,” Phamotse said.

Phamotse said the government values competition.

“My ministry strongly aspires for a diverse, competitive system that can offer different types of higher education so that students choose freely between a wide range of providers and programmes,” Phamotse said.

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