NUL student wins Tuning Africa competition

NUL student wins Tuning Africa competition

ROMA – NATIONAL University of Lesotho (NUL) Economics student, Bohloeki Senyane, has won the Tuning Africa Competition.
In the competition were numerous students from 60 African universities.
In the end Senyane was one of the top two in the area of Economics.
She had effectively booked her ticket to Brussels, Belgium.

When this NUL student entered the Tuning Africa Competition, she thought her chances were minimal if existent at all.
She was in for a surprise.
And so were her competitors.
Well, it is becoming a familiar scene.
NUL students and teachers enter “wrestling matches” with their international peers, highly doubting their chances, only to find that they had no match after all.
“A teacher in one of my Economics classes told the class that there was Tuning Africa Competition for students and he encouraged us to apply,” Senyane said.

Why not? she thought.
After all, she had nothing to lose.
Plus she wanted to contribute something important to the questions posed by Tuning Africa in the competition.
There were three questions:

1. For your country to move forward economically, what do you think it needs?
2. What kind of graduates do you think your country needs to develop?
3. What do you think should be the characteristics of students entering your university?
So she meditated on the questions and she thought her views, and her peers’ views on those issues could help someone somewhere.
Who knows?

“We had to answer those questions, both from our perspective and from the perspectives of students in our universities and then chisel down those views into a three minutes video,” she said.
The best two videos per area of contest would win.
Then the work started.

She switched into a research mode and contacted students from almost all NUL faculties to have their views on the questions posed.
“I carefully recorded their responses, and analyzed them,” she said.
“In the end, I added my views and I was ready to go.”
What were in the responses?

NUL needs to redesign its curriculum to respond better to Lesotho’s current needs, suggested the young thinkers.
What graduates should NUL produce?
The students were concise, crisp, on this one.
NUL needs to breed a generation of problem solvers, innovators.
That school had to do whatever it could to achieve that goal.

And what kind of students should be allowed within the borders of “that school in the Roma Valley?”
Here, the students unearthed one of the problems that bedevils freshmen entering the premises of a university—lack of preparedness for failure.
Many, they said, were ill-equipped for failure.
If in high-schools, they were referred to as geniuses, and now their first year marks hover around 16 percent (sounds familiar?), many give up too quick.
Those who give up are not aware of one thing.
“University is a place where you learn the lessons of life, and learning to fail, and then picking yourself up and trying again, and never giving up, that is part of the process,” Senyane shared her wisdom.

In fact, Senyane said she was so passionate about this part, she had a few more words of wisdom to contribute.
“Those who attend a university should also know that a university is far more than just attending classes and doing academic assignments,” she said.
In her view, “students should be prepared to network, to solve societal problems, to be innovative and to do community service.”
We guess now you know why Senyane, and by extension, those students she interviewed were no match in Africa.
Otherwise, where else would you find such wisdom?

With these strong views, consolidated and crystallized, she created a three minute video, put it on YouTube and submitted her link to Tuning Africa.
She was about to forget the whole thing when one day she was called into her teacher’s office.
That same teacher, who encouraged students to apply, now had news for her.
She had won!

“I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited, I was over the moon, I was like, why would they pick me among so many from all over Africa? I thought I was just making a contribution, not that I would win.”
Apparently, the judges do reward wisdom.

And, now, her parting words with her peers, “don’t underestimate what may come your way if you try”.
“Always let your aim be to contribute, to build, and not necessarily to get a prize.”
Because of this win, in the next few months, she will catch a metal bird (nonyana-tšepe) and, off to Brussels, she will go!
There, she will represent not only NUL students, but Economics students from all over Africa in the General Meeting of the European Union Tuning Africa initiative. She was counted worthy of that noble mission, not by us, but by international consensus.

Own Correspondent

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