She is the kind that relishes a challenge. Her quest now is to open learning opportunities for locals and sees nothing stopping her from her goal. KEITEBE KGOSIKEBATHO reports
Talk about veteran administrators in the public service and the name Galaletsang Maakwe will be right there among the many that have shaped this country.
Maakwe oversaw several government initiatives from conception among them the Tirelo Sechaba programme (Community Service scheme) in the early 80s. Her thesis for her Master of Business Administration titled ‘the Status of collective bargaining between the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and Manual Workers Union in Botswana’ gave her wisdom in settling disputes between the government and local trade unions. As if it was not enough, Maakwe undertook to study for her MSc in Marketing Communications Strategy and graduated in 2012. The topic for her dissertation was “The Marketing Communication Strategy for New Era College.”
Having started her career in the late 70s as an administrative officer, Maakwe rose through the ranks in the civil service to hold a variety of top positions including that of directorship and coordinator of various government programmes.
Today Maakwe is the Executive Director of New Era College where she continues to apply her expertise to shape the country’s young minds and contribute positively to the economy and the education system.
Maakwe joined New Era College in November 2007 as a consultant and advisor for the college management until August 2009. In Semptember 2009 Maakwe was then appointed the College’s Executive Director.
She points out that she joined New Era College when it was not even registered by the Tertiary Education Council (TEC) due to failure to meet certain standards required by the qualification authority. She was then given the responsibility to develop a document that will see the college through to registration and she did it on record time. “One thing I pride myself in is that I have good writing skills and I like new challenges. The registration process presented me with an opportunity to do what I knew I was good at,” Maakwe says.
Shortly after registration Maakwe developed a strategic plan that she personally spearheaded, which outlined the college’s mission, vision and set goals to be achieved within by 2016. Although there have been setbacks here and there Maakwe says she is happy to have achieved most of what they have planned.
As one would expect with the growth of the college, came stiff competition from other established institutions and this is one of the main challenges that Maakwe says they face currently. However, being the never-say-die kind, she has now put her strategic planning skills to use and has devised a robust plan to turn things around at her college.
One such initiative, according to Maakwe, is the introduction of part-time weekend courses, which she says will not only cater for Batswana who do not have the chance to study full-time but is also geared at promoting studying among Batswana, giving them equal opportunities to bridge the economic gap. “Batswana are generally heavily reliant on government and often shy away from being self-reliant. The courses are geared at dispersing that kind of behaviour,” she says. The weekend courses are to start sometimes this month.
Though other challenges like shortage of resources and dwindling enrolment numbers still persists, Maakwe is a woman on mission and plans to make both students and members of staff happy while in the process keeping the college afloat.
Her aim is to see the college opening a campus in the northern parts of Botswana, especially in Palapye to partner with the newly established BIUST.