Botswana International University of Science and Technology last Wednesday unveiled Batswana applicants to study masters and doctoral degrees at Akita university – a renowned academic institution in Japan, sharing a lot of similarities in the area of academic emphasis particularly in science, engineering and technology with the local institution currently under construction near Palapye.
A multi-million pula state of architecture university, BIUST of late struck a mutual deal with Akita because of their striking similarities resulting with the youthful Itumeleng Tshegofatso Seitshiro and Ame Thato Selepeng being admitted to pursue doctoral and Master’s degrees in Resource Systems Engineering and applied geo-physics, respectively at the renowned university.
“The nominations to select the best two were very intense I must assure you,” said BUIST vice chancellor, Professor Kweku Benti. “The two were not selected from the streets walking by… but through a vigorous competition and selection.
“About 104 applicants applied for the scholarship and were short listed to about 4 or 5 applicants only for Itumeleng and Ame to emerge victorious. They are now the pioneers and ambassadors of BIUST and the Botswana government,” Benti added, to the excitement and ululations of the well-wishers.
While the government of Japan will be responsible for the scholarship, the Botswana government will take the lead in facilitating the flights for the two.
Although a memorandum of understanding between the two universities is expected to be consummated later this year, this arrangement is seen as opportune, and particularly that Akita University is to resume studies from the vacation.
“This initiative marks the beginning of a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship between AKITA and BIUST,” said Ryoichi Matsunyama, the Japanese ambassador to Botswana: “The relationship will be further strengthened through the MOU expected to be signed this year in AKITA, Japan, by the two universities.”
He added: “AKITA and BIUST share a lot of similarities in the area of academic emphasis. Both universities are highly research oriented and specialize in science, engineering and technology.”
Established in 1949, AKITA consists of three faculties, namely the faculty of Education and Human Studies, School of Medicine and faculty of Engineering and Resource Science. The current total enrolment at AKITA is around 1096 students for both the undergraduates and graduate programmes while BIUST student intake is expected to increase from 256 when it opens in 2011 to about 6000 at full capacity.
For his part, 23-year-old Selepeng, who recently graduated with a Bachelor in Geology from the University of Botswana and was wandering unemployed, thanked BIUST for seeing his potential and for AKITA for opening the gates for him.
Adds 26-year-old Seitshiro, who was employed as an engineer at the Jwaneng mine: “Today marks the turning point of my life and I promise to be a true ambassador of Botswana in Japan, reflecting Botswana in every sector, particularly the tourism sector. I promise to work hard and to work for my country as an official at BIUST University in the future.”
The duo is expected to leave for Japan on or around the 20th September.