Honourable Minister Dr Madigele let us start by appreciating your admired efforts in attempting to deliberate on issues of concern pertaining to the student body. We once came to your office two months ago pleading with you to consider altering the policies of the book allowance dispensation and you heeded to our plea. Honourable we now have come to you as the last resort with a paramount issue of accreditation which is ostensibly bedeviling the student body. The aftermath of this if not solved pragmatically will be bad. We verily comprehend the statement that you made in Parliament that assigns BQA and private institution six months to have accredited all courses or else the government will not sponsor students to pursuing such unaccredited courses. However we stand to negate the statement on account of the seemingly incorrigible problems surrounding the institution. We are of the view that six months will elapse without those problems being ameliorated. We verily comprehend the statement that you made in Parliament that assigns BQA and private institution 6 months to have accredited all courses or else the government will not sponsor students to pursuing such unaccredited courses. However your statement Honourable Minister will mostly favor the incoming students but totally doesn’t favour the current students, especially those who are about to complete. To elaborate more on this point Honourable we will give practical examples / instances;
The first Batch of students who enrolled in these new programmes which were introduced in 2013 went for industrial attachment in July – December 2016 semester. Most have testified with displeasure about how they encountered problems at the work field as what they did in school could not commensurate the actual work. Instead of taking what we learned at school to the work arena, it was complicated as what we learnt was not fitting. Most of the attached students ended up doing things not related to what they have learnt because we were incompetent probably because of;
1) POOR COURSE STRUCTURE
Most students did their own research comparing their programmes with similar programmes from other institutions and found out that our curriculum isn’t well structured in the sense that here in Botho students are taught:
We need modules which are related to our area of study so that we fully get equipped with skills and knowledge necessary but in our institution we have been fed with modules that do not contribute anyway to our program. You will find that a student who studies Health information management is obliged to do modules like marketing, introduction to financial accounting as core modules instead of studying modules related to Health information management. These modules are irrelevant to the program and they don’t help most of those who were attached at hospitals and private clinics as health information managers. We have attached our own research to prove this argument.
Repetition of modules
Most of the modules we studying are more or less the same especially for students who are studying accounting. Those modules will differ with one or two topics. We believe that these modules are just a waste of time as we are not acquiring new skills whereas time is passing. Most of the modules which have pre-requisites are of no value and we deem them as repeated modules. Modules like communication skills 1 and 2. We feel they can be combined to be one thing instead of doing it for two full semesters taking in cognizance that these modules do not benefit student mostly. It is just aimed at improving our communication and study skills but we believe that the basic education we acquired from primary to senior school has equipped us with these skills and we find no reason to do these modules. It was going to be beneficial if they provide pre requisites and requisites of relevant modules to deepen our skills and knowledge.
Poor linkage between BGCSE and Botho programmes
Hnourable Minister we have a challenge with the way our BGCSE certificate is regarded in Botho University. We don’t think the management took time to appreciate the BGCSE syllabus. If they did then they might be disregarding it. Students do the same content that they were doing at senior school especially engineering students. We feel that this is an insult to our intelligence and our certificates. For instance, a student who got enrolled for electrical engineering would have to do the same chemistry they did at senior school. The management must appreciate what we learnt at senior school so that we don’t do the same thing for 2 semesters.
2) POOR COURSE DELIVERY
In Botho we have a situation whereby a lecture can teach through different faculties which somehow compromise their delivery. We also have an issues where lecturers teach modules which are not related to their qualifications. Most of the lecturers are clueless with what they doing that they fully depend on the internet to compile slides. We need lecturers who are competent so that they teach eloquently and efficiently to produce competent graduates. We had an issue of students being taught by under qualified lecturers. Honourable this compromised our learning and we want the management to compensate every student who got in contact with under qualified lecturers and fake doctors.
3) NO RESOURCES/ POOR LABS
Students are eager to be hands on whatever they are doing. Some students do have labs which are not really furnished with equipments they can use to do experiments. Most labs have few materials and students tend to share those equipments in groups to do experiments; we feel that this compromises our education because students need exposure individually. We believe practicals are imperative, especially in tertiary education but in our institution we don’t get practical’s as reflected in curriculums. We have courses like Jewellery management, Electrical engineering, Multimedia and Network engineering that indispensably require fully-fledged laboratories and equipment. Nonetheless we do not have such amenities to facilitate the operations of the above mentioned curriculums.
4) RELATIONSHIP WITH SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION
The relationship between the SRC/students and the management is out rightly sour. This is because the management does not care about the welfare of the students. The management tends to punitively take decisions on reactionary basis to mitigate the SRC to air the students’ grievances. When we amicably approach the management with some burning issues that need resolution they tend to be rigid and indifferent on bringing about solutions. We have seen with book allowance issue whereby it took us almost three years to solve it and our patience eventually faded. We have long petitioned the management to keep us informed with accreditation through communications of emails and meetings all of which were unfruitful. When we resorted to outburst the management suspended us from school to silence us. Currently the student body is frustrated solely because the management is sitting on their issues. This issue of accreditation has been on their desk towards the end of 2015. We had meetings where the Vice Chancellor promised that everything will be settled and that was around May last year. Even now the management rigidly refuses with the BQA report. We wanted to know the accreditation status of lecturers and programmes even up to now, they are turning us down. This resulted in frustrations which lead to the unrest.
Honourable it is clear and evident that the current students have been doing programmes of poor quality due to the above mentioned reasons. We recommend that:
•Students should be transferred to institutions which provide better quality education especially first years and second years
•Students should be given extra relevant modules to enhance their learning because their time was wasted with irrelevant modules
•Accounting students should be transferred to professional courses like ACCA, CIMA and BICA.
•We petition you honourable minister to hold a student body meeting before school reopening where you will give students assurance that all shall be resolved because they is no longer trust with the school management. The atmosphere is so messed up for learning and the students can send out their displeasure through unbecoming acts.
•From the 14th of March students have been submitting letters of concern to the institution pleading with them to postpone the opening date as the environment is no longer conducive for learning. We feel the only thing that will help us get back to normal classes is when our issues are addressed. If possible honorable direct the institution to postpone the opening to the 3rd of April 2017. We believe on this date everything will be sorted.
•Honorable we also have a court case on the 31st where the Botho management want to enforce orders on us, as the student body we are up to argue this in court therefore we request you to help us to witness activities which happened on the 10th of February as you were present in the afternoon.
•We also request your office to talk to the school management to drop the disciplinary hearings leveled against the SRC and some students so that tranquility can be restored. We know very well that it’s within their rights to call us for disciplinary hearing but we plead they drop everything so that we start afresh. We believe that if all the issues are sorted Botho University will be a great place to study at again.
•We also believe after appreciating our concerns Honourable you might find possible solutions that we didn’t recommend as the students. As our father we look up to you.
Botho University SRC’s petition