As an HR consultant who hires candidates on behalf of companies, Jowitt Mbongwe knows more about the job-readiness of university graduates than most.
A comparison that he makes between Botswana’s oldest and better-resourced university and a relative new-comer will come as a surprise to most. According to Mbongwe, graduates from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology are more job-ready than those from the University of Botswana. He attributes that to the practical training than Limkokwing students get while adjudging the training of UB students to be mostly theoretical. In another, broader context, Mbongwe asserts that job-ready graduates are less expensive to hire because they respond better to a process of steeping them in organisational culture ÔÇô known as onboarding. In practical terms, that means that it would be cheaper to hire Limkokwing than UB students.
Despite the lavish funding it gets from the government and the resources it has acquired over the years, UB doesn’t always inspire confidence in some very important quarters. In a way no dissimilar to Mbongwe’s, the university has been unfavourably compared to the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) by no less an authority than the Botswana Training Authority ÔÇô renamed Botswana Qualifications Authority. A past report from the Authority quotes an employer as saying the following: “I wonder what the [BAC] have done because they have been successful in structuring their training. If you take an AAT person, for example, he is more accurate and knows what industry expects rather than, if you take [one] from a Diploma in Accounting [or] Business student from UB. Those are two different people. And I don’t know what BAC did. They are always up to date on standards.”
Tragically though, BAC may have been infiltrated by characters who will not help the College maintain its high standards. Last week’s edition of the Botswana Gazette ran a story about a male lecturer who assessed female students’ academic ability solely on the basis of what sex position they would assume for his carnal pleasure. The lecturer has been fired but not before he lowered standards.
Interestingly, what Mbongwe says is in sharp contrast to what Gaborone North MP, Haskins Nkaigwa said last year in parliament when discussing the 2017/18 budget allocation for the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology.
“We are so proud of that university and I feel very proud to be a graduate of that university rather than having studied at Limkokwing,” said Nkaigwa who graduated from UB in 2001 with a bachelor degree in business administration. “That could have really broken my heart.”
The MP lamented the plight of graduates of institutions like Limkokwing, the Gaborone Universal College of Law and the Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies “who roam the streets with nothing to do.” He posed: “Can you employ someone whose CV states that they studied at GUC? No, you cannot employ them, you would rather employ someone from the University of Botswana.”