Ba Isago University has in a bid to expose students to industry in their respective fields of study hosted the first ever Student-Industry meet. The event took place this week Wednesday hosted by the school’s Student Welfare and Support Services Division through its Industry Liaison Office, in collaboration with Academic Departments and the Marketing and Communications Department.
The Student-Industry Meet brought the industry to the University and the students had the opportunity to interact with the industry. Speaking at the event, Minister of Employment, Labour productivity and Skills Development Tshenolo Mabeo who was the guest speaker on the day said the initiative was important and necessary step in the right direction as it affords learners exposure to industry in their respective fields of study.
He said it provides learners the chance to dialogue with industry and gain key insights on how they can best position themselves for business and career success whilst they are still studying.
“In addition, leaners are also informed of further opportunities which currently exist, in their career modeling and shaping,” said Mabeo.
Mabeo said this was equally an opportunity for Ba Isago to market its programmes offerings to industry, and to gather industry perspectives with respect to the compatibility and sustainability of such programmes to the skill endowment which industry desires or expects from learners.
Mabeo said he was hoping other institutions of learning will emulate it, and urged Ba Isago o develop and strengthen it to higher levels.
The minister said such collaborations between institutions of higher learning and industries have been used as a model of industrial development by countries such as South Korea.
“It is my hope and sincere wish that Ba Isago would further initiate linkages which will result in their research and innovation being commercialized and reducing our employment figures,” he said.
Ba Isago University President, Professor Driekie Hay-Swemmer described the event as very meaningful as it brought together key stakeholders in the education and training of Botswana’s future workforce.
“For too long now, universities are accused of being irrelevant, too theoretical, designing programmes without having the most appropriate people around the curriculum table,” Swemmer said.
She said for too long universities have been accused of graduating students who will be jobless, or delivering graduates who are rather ill prepared for the workplace.
“These are indeed serious accusations and ones who no stakeholder, may it be government, universities, parents, students, tax payers, professions, the industry, employees, yes no stakeholder can take light heartedly,” she said.
Swemmer said universities should take it upon themselves and see to it that graduates have a clear idea of their career purpose.
“Our students need mental practical tools for fast-changing careers in a global workplace, where fulltime and long-term employment are becoming rare,” said Swemmer.