• FCC courts UB, avails land for expansion
The University of Botswana (UB) engaged stakeholders among them alumni and captains of industry in Francistown last Tuesday to highlight current issues relating to the university, disseminate information about operations and areas of interest.
UB used the event as an opportunity for incoming Vice Chancellor Professor David Norris to visit the satellite Centre for Continuing Education and interact with staff. Mayor of Francistown Sylvia Muzila, appreciated the interactive session with UB management and appraisal on the state of affairs of the university. She complained about UB's abandoned buildings opposite John Mackenzie School, which create an eye sore in the city and a haven for criminals. Muzila revealed that FCC had set aside land at Gerald Estate, which they planned to avail to Government if BIUST was brought to the city. She said the land remains unutilized and urged Professor Norris to consider using it for the expansion of UB campus in Francistown.
Muzila said UB can play a significant role to revitalise the economy of the northern region, due to the strategic location of Francistown as a gateway to the north. Professor David Norris, immediately welcomed the offer by the Mayor, agreeing that by involving business, Government and academia the revitalisation of Francistown can be achieved. He said UB is prepared to play an active role in that development, also assuring FCC that action will be taken to address the issue of dilapidated abandoned buildings.
Professor Norris said the university belongs to the nation, as demonstrated by their contribution to the building of the first university. In turn, the onus falls on the nation to support and develop it. He said UB will seriously consider acquiring the available land for expansion of the Francistown campus, as suggested by the Mayor. According to Professor Norris UB thrives on collaborative partnerships to re-invent higher education by funding research activities/ projects, collaboratively designed curriculum and course design.
One Ngano Kuswani, urged UB to consider setting up registration facilities in satellite offices to save students and potential students the cost of travelling to Gaborone just for registration. BDP Councillor Peter Ngoma, opined that what Francistown needs is not a campus but a fully fledged university. He expressed concern that Government has neglected developments in the the city and the northern part of the country, as demonstrated by the location of the second university in a rural area like Palapye, overlooking what he feels was the more suitable location for the institution.