Monday, March 8, 2021

BUIST moves swiftly to dispel perceptions of bias

The Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) moved swiftly this week to dispel concerns of bias towards Nigerian students. The concerns were prompted a recent advert which was later withdrawn, which suggested that BIUST intended to “grant special admission arrangement and requirement to students from one country (Nigeria) over others.” The Press Statement in the media stated in part that “The advert in question …seems to erroneously imply that BIUST intends to grant special admission arrangement and requirement to students from one country over others. This is not the case.

The advert in question has been duly withdrawn and a clearer one will be in circulation soon. Any feeling of exclusion caused by the advert is highly regretted.” BIUST Director, Communications & Public Affairs Shakie Kebaswele said the University currently has four colleges and as far as their records show, of all the colleges with substantive Deans, none of them is headed by a Nigerian.

“The College of Sciences is headed by Professor John Cooke, a British; the College of Engineering is headed by Professor James Katende, a Ugandan; the College of Information, Communications & Technology is headed by Professor Heiko Shroeder, a German; the College of Management & Entrepreneurship has not been filled as yet. As you can see, none of these is a Nigerian,” he said.

He said the University has a total of ten directorates as follows adding that only three of these namely, Information, Communications & Technology headed by a Zimbabwe national, Library Services headed by a Malawian, Student Enrolment headed by an Irish. “The other seven directorates are headed by citizens. All Directors and Deans are members of the Vice Chancellor’s Cabinet,” he said. He added that below Directors, there are currently ten Managers who are all citizens of Botswana except one who is Indian. “I can confirm that none of them is Nigerian. Regardless, as a public institution, BIUST cannot discriminate against the recruitment of staff of any nationality.

However, there are some programmes that are exclusively for Batswana,” said Kebaswele. On concerns that the BIUST recently floated a “self centered advert” about Vice Chancellor Prof. Hillary Inyang in the media, Kebaswele said the benefits of publicizing the Vice Chancellor’s Profile accrue more to Botswana than to him as an individual. He said there are a number of avenues at our disposal that can be deployed to build a positive image for our university.

One of these avenues is the profiling of the university leadership,” he said. According to
Kebaswele, the BIUST Vice Chancellor is an international personality who has highly recognized and proclaimed leader in areas of science and technology world-wide. “The recent awarding of the Nigeria National Merit Award to the BIUST Vice Chancellor provided a critical and long lasting publicity milestone for BIUST. Regarding the recent Press Statement cataloguing the Vice Chancellor’s history of awards which I hope you read very well, you have seen for yourself that the Vice Chancellor is highly decorated and internationally acclaimed,” he said.

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