Data collecting agency, Statistics Botswana (SB) and the University of Botswana (UB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their cooperative statistical and academic pursuits. Statistician General, Dr Burton Mguni and University of Botswana (UB) Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris spearheaded the signing. On Tuesday 26 June 2018. Dr Mguni said the agreement is a huge incentive to both SB and UB as it aims to strengthen collaboration mainly in the areas of training and capacity building through exchange programs and exposure on various statistical areas including research methods, development of systems for specific statistical data processing applications. The MoU will also help the two institutions on areas of conduct of joint surveys or researches on identified subject areas and guide each other on analysis and presentation of census results.
They will also collaborate in community education to increase mathematical, statistical and research awareness and knowledge to the public will be a priority according Dr Mguni. “This component of the MoU has been thoroughly interrogated and agreed upon and acceptance to these key elements cements a start to our partnership,” said Dr Mnguni, adding that worth noting is that the agreement on its own is just a framework and said his believe is that relevant structures will be set up to ensure that it is implemented.
Dr Mguni said they will continue the strategic dialogue on joint priorities at all levels so that they can complement and leverage each organization’s comparative advantage to the benefit of the country’s development.
For his part UB Vice-chancellor Professor David Norris, said the university, through the Faculty of Socisl Sciences has historically collaborated with SB in a number of areas, including training and provisional of technical assistance during the design, conduct and analysis of various national surveys and censuses.
He gave an example that in 2012, the Faculty of Social Sciences, through a joint initiative involving Departments of Population Studies; Statistics; and Sociology conducted two capacity building workshops for planners, managers and other senior government officers in areas relating to data management and analysis.
The collaboration was however informal and based on implied understanding of the need for such collaboration between government and the main research institution in the country. “So the signing of the MoU does not mark the initiation of collaboration between the two institutions, rather it marks a renewal; a reinvigoration and refocusing of collaborative energies in ways that maximize mutual beneficiation between our two insitutions,” remarked Professor Norris.
He explained that the envisaged effect of the proposed MoU is that it will formalize, energize and further leverage the relationship in ways that increase and optimizes the mutual benefit to both UB and SB.
According to Professor Norris, the collaboration is very beneficial not only in terms of staff access and experience of research, but also in terms of enhancing quality of students training by offering real life experiences of participating in the conduct of surveys and working with real life primary data. He said if executed well, it offers potential to support and advance the strategic goals of the university and the Faculty, which include extending access and participation, providing relevant and high quality programs, intensifying research, strengthening engagement and enhancing human resources for excellence in delivery.