What can universities do to reduce unemployment in Botswana?

24 Jun 2019

Botswana continues to record high rate of unemployment and sluggish economic growth. At the same time, the number of start-ups in comparison with other African countries is low, a scenario that led to the question – “What role can Universities and Colleges play to reduce unemployment?”

Botho University managing director - Sheela Raja Ram says there is need to produce “well grounded” graduates capable to be absorbed into the already saturated harsh job market particularly on entrepreneurial and technological sector.

Ram says entrepreneurial, technological and innovative skills are seen as the vehicle to bridge the gap over record high unemployment level especially amongst the decorated graduate youths attributed to mismatch of services and products to the local market needs.

With the advent of the 4th industrial revolution centered on the exploitation ICT and other innovative technologies, Ram’s Botho University is adamant of a struck of right chord with the main focus on cutting edge entrepreneurial and technological skills currently rooted in their curriculum.

“The 4th industrial revolution is changing the nature of work. Gone are the days when people graduated found work…may change work and 20 years retire and enjoy pension,” Ram said at a recent graduation ceremony of Botho University in the capital Gaborone.

Ram also made an observation that more and more organisations are outsourcing their work for talented and creative individuals.”

“Today’s work is becoming more personalized with innovative work in demand and calling therefore for creative mindset,” Raja Ram added Friday at the Botho University 2018/19 graduation ceremony reminding the parent-graduate audience “that is exactly all what the institution strives for.”

With the increasing level of unemployment rate attributed to the mismatch of services and skills, Botho University has since approached local and international industries with the aim to close the gap with Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Aravinda Ram citing internship with local retail store Choppies and Debswana amongst others.

“Our student exchange programmes in technological facilities in South Africa and Sweden have also given the students much needed international exposure,” Ram for her part revealed, adding “our aim is to produce well grounded graduates to meet both local and international industries.”

As a move to satisfy local industry needs, the University meet with local industries on almost daily basis with the response “so far tremendous and overwhelmingly positive” according to Ram.

Nearly 1000 graduates adorn with traditional black coats strutted the hall of Boipuso Holdings to celebrate their educational success amid a looming future as chances to locate formal decent job get slimmer amid saturated markets.

Graduates included honours of Science in computing, network security and computer forensics and honours of Science in hospitality management amongst others.

Failing to grab a “five star employment” in hotels, graduates with the newly accredited hospitality management at the University were urged to venture with community projects in the “bush” as everything has a beginning according to Raja Ram.

“They say dynamites come in small proportions and in the end your efforts will bear much fruits for the nation,” for his part Local Enterprise Authority Chief Executive Officer Racious Moatshe encouraged the graduates.