Drive along the Maru-a Pula Road and the first thing you notice is the billboard that advertises one of Botswana’s most prestigious high schools, Maru-A-Pula.
It advertises the different universities to which you may be led to after graduating and these include Harvard, Wits, UCT and Princeton, amongst others but the billboard does not view our very own University of Botswana as a desirable destination.
The university is a haven for many who seem to want to take their education to the next level. They have ambitions of being the best accountants, doctors, lawyers, and journalist.
So what is stopping students from coming to UB? What do other colleges have that UB does not?
UB, for instance, has one of the best libraries in Africa; it has new buildings that can be seen from as far away as the Main Mall and it is rich in diverse cultures, races and nationalities.
Prestigious Batswana who have made their dreams a reality passed through UB.
So could the problem lie within UB itself?
A second year BAH student said that despite UB not being accepted as her primary choice she was relatively happy with being here.
“It was not a choice, the other institutions were accepting applications but I am not disappointed by being here, it’s basically the same as other colleges,” she said.
Kesegofetse Ratanang Mganga, who just finished her form five at Naledi Senior Secondary School (NSSS) said, “I like UB a lot; I think UB is one of the most excelling tertiary schools in Botswana. I also like the way the school is run and the devotion that the students have towards their studies.
If I get the chance to be admitted to UB, I would like to study human resource management or nursing,” she added.
A Maru-A-Pula student, Relebogile Ntsabane, said UB was not among her first options and that she was looking for a college in South Africa or the US to further her studies.
“Before I came to UB, I thought UB was a place where everybody had their own freedom, a place where you could meet people; I thought it was a good university. But now, I sometimes get disappointed in the university. But I think it’s ok; I’m disappointed in the course I’m doing which is BAH even though I wanted to do accounting. In terms of entertainment UB, well, it is ok,” stated Oratile Molosiwa, a 1st year student.
Gone are the days when UB had no competitors. UB now faces tough opposition locally in the form of Limkokwing, which is pulling more and more students to their several campuses around the city.
But with more and more students looking to go across the border, it is perhaps a missed chance by local institutions to tap into brilliant young minds.