The origins of the National University of Lesotho go back to April 8, 1945, when a Catholic University College was founded at Roma by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of Southern Africa. The establishment of this College was a realisation of a decision taken in 1938 by the Synod of Catholic Bishops in South Africa to provide African Catholic students with post-matriculation and religious guidance. The Catholic University College was founded in an isolated valley 34 kilometers from Maseru in a temporary primary school building at Roma Mission.
romacampusIn 1946 the College moved from the temporary building to the present site. This was made possible by the allocation of some 52 acresof land to the College by the Paramount Chief. In 1950, the Catholic University College was ceded to the Congregation of Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Pius XII College prepared its students for the external degrees of the University of South Africa (UNISA). By September 27 1954, having satisfied itself that Pius XII College was an academically viable Institution, UNISA agreed to enter into a formal agreement - thereby granting an "Associate College" status to the College. This development was of major significance to the Roma intellectual community as it entailed a certain degree of "decentralisation" in certain specific areas on the part of UNISA, e.g. Pius Xil College assumed greater responsibility for tuition and examinations. Indeed, between 1954-60 both the academic and physi- cal growth of the College accelerated. Fathers Beaule, Quirion, and Guilbeault (then Rector), participated actively in the early development of the college.
In the early 60s the College experienced difficulties academically and financially. UNISA unilaterally decided to redefine its relationship with the College and, finally, the main benefactor of the College directed its resources elsewhere.
The denominational character of the College had made it difficult for international organizations, agencies, and foundations to fund such an institution of higher learning. Despite these problems, advice received from Sir John Lockwood and Sir James Cook, both Vice-Chancellors' of British universities at the time, discouraged the College authorities from seeking an affiliation with either the University of London, or for that matter, any other overseas University. As early as 1952, attempts by the college to secure a special relationship with the University of London, through the Inter-University Council for Higher Education Overseas (Commonly referred to as the I-VC) had been 'unsuccessful.
In view of the prevailing difficulties, seen as a danger to the development of university education in Basutoland in 1962, the General of the Oblate Congregation requested Fathers Banim, 0. M.I. and A. W. Hall, O.M.I. to visit Roma and assist the College in finding a practical solution to its problems.
The South African Government had declared its intention not to admit African students from outside South Africa into the University College of Fort Hare, and the Natal Medical School (Wentworth) after December 31 1953. Although this ban was relaxed for Basutoland students until 1958, the writing was on the wall.
The College, which by 1959 had 171 students, 141 of whom were students from outside Basutoland - mainly from S. Africa, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland - was already deeply involved in contributing to the training of future civil servants and teachers for the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland.
Clearly, the High Commission Territories (H.C.T) were indebted to Pius XII College for for its role in producing a cadre of educated women and men to tackle developmental problems after independence. On the other hand, the- College, which was going through a period of financial difficulties felt that it would be most appreciative if its efforts in providing the prerequisite manpower needs for the H.C.T. could be recognized both in cash and in kind. At the same time, it was apparent that the H.C.T. also wanted to play a more significant role in the decision-making bodies of the College. In a curious way - the Catholic Church, the Basutoland Government, the University authorities and even the other H.C.T. territories sensed the need for a decisive step to be taken in order the re-define the role and the governance of the College.
Negotiations began with the view to establishing an inter-territorial, non- denominational University, principally to serve the H.C.T. Indeed, it has been said that by that time the three High Commission Territories were beginning to see the the College as destined to become a "University of the High Commission Territories". Progress was made to enable a deed of cession to be signed on June 13, 1963, the indemnity being met jointly by the Ford Foundation and H.M.'.s Government in the U.K. The indemnity was signed between Sir Hugh Stephenson, then newly appointed High Commissioner acting on behalf of the projected new University, and at the time of signing the indemnity the facilities of the College, most of which were attributed to the period when Fr. Romeo Guilbeaut was Rector, had expanded rapidly. Besides the original "temporary" houses and classrooms, residences which could accommodate 100 male and 70 Students, some 20 staff houses/flats, a modem science block, a kitchen and refectory block, administrative buildings, workshops, garage and a power plant were in existence. Also under construction was a new library building whose funding had been secured form the World Council of Churches, and the World University Service. Student numbers had grown from the original five, to 180.
On January 1, 1964, Plus XII University College was replaced by the in-dependent, non-denominational University of Basutoland, Bechuanaland Protectorate, and Swaziland with its own Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth 11. By virtue of the same Charter, the Oblate Fathers kept a close relation- ship with the U.B.B.S. through serving on the Council and teaching, as well as in the physical presence of Piux XII College House, a residence for the Oblate community.
To be in line with the names chosen after independence in 1966, U.B6B.S. became the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
A historical date in life of U.B.L.S. is April 7, 1967, when the first autonomous degrees and diplomas were conferred. The University continued to grow steadily - physically and academically, being supported by the three governments' subventions and by international organisations. In time, branches of the University were established in Botswana and Swaziland.
U.B.L.S, through much admired as an institution, soon found problems in the areas of growth and administration. Cooperation between the three
campuses was not always consistent and equal, as interests and concerns about development and future plans differed between the three campuses.
By 1974, ten years after its establishment, the U.B.L.S. was offering five degree courses, eleven diploma and certificate courses and four post- graduate degree courses.
NUL is Established:
The decision to establish the National University of Lesotho on, the Lesotho (Roma) campus site of the former U.B.L.S. was taken on October 20, 1975, by the National Assembly through Act No. 1 3 of 1975. NUL is the proud heir of Pius XII University College and U.B.L.S. It occupies the same site, grounds, and buildings as its predecessors, as well as additional ones.
Today the National University of Lesotho is a growing institution striving to meet the needs of the nation, through producing competent and skilled graduates who can easily take up the call to assist in the development of Lesotho.
The 80 hectare University site is situated at Roma (pop.8,000) some 34 kilometers south-east of Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.
Roma valley is broad and is surrounded by a barrier of rugged mountains which provides magnificent scenery. The University enjoys a temperate climate with four distinctive seasons.
The governing body of the University is the Council and academic policy is in the hands of Senate - both Council and Senate being established by the Act. The University holds membership in:
- The Association of Commonwealth Universities The Association of African Universities
- The International Association of Universities
- The Association of Eastern and Southern African Universities
CHANCELLORS OF THE UNIVERSITY:
His Excellency Sir Fiugh Stephenson, GBE, KCMG, 1964-1966
His Excellency Sir Seretse Khama, KBE, Hon. D.LL. (Fordham), Hon.D.PH. (UBLS) 1967-1970
His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1971-1974.
His Majesty King Sobhuza II of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 1974-1975
His Majesty King Moshoeshoe II of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1976-1990
His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho, 1991-Present
ADMINISTRATIVE HEADS OF THE INSTITUTION
PIUS XII COLLEGE: RECTORS
Rev. P. E. Beaule, OMI, B.A., L.Ph., STL, 1945-1950
Rev. G. Marchand, OMI, D.Ph., DD, LL.D., CJB, 1950-1953 (ad interim) Rev. R. Guilbeault, OMI, MA., L.Ph., 1954-1959
Rev. L. Dozois, OMI, L.Ph., STL, LSS, 1960-1961
Rev. F. Banim, OMI, M.A. 1962-1963.
UBLS: VICE-CHANCELLORS OF THE UNIVERSITY
John W. Blake, M.A., RF.Hist.S, Hon.D.Litt. (Keele), Hon. D. Litt-. (UBLS) 1964-1971.
Cyril A. Rogers, M.A. (NZ) B.Ed. (Melb.) Ph.D. (London), 1971-1975
VICE-CHANCELLORS OF THE UNIVERSITY
M. T. Mashologu, B.A. (Rhodes) B.A., (Hons) (Belf.). P.C.E. (London) 1975-1980.
A. M. Setsabi, B.A. Admin. (UBLS) M.P.I.A. (Pitt.) Dip. Soc.-L, LL.D. (h.c.) (St. F.X.) 1980-1994
B. A. Tlelase, BA (S.A) 1984-1986
L.B.B.J. Machobane, A.A. (Piney Wood), B.A. M.Ed. (Tuskegee) M.A. (Lehigh), Ph.D. (Rdin.) 1986--1987 (Acting)
A. D. Baikie, M.Sc.Ed., Ed.D. (Indiana) Dip. in Fine Art, Postgrd. Art Teachers Cert. (NCAST) Diploma Ed. Media (Indiana), 1988-1991,1992- 1995
David Kimble, OBE, B.A. Dip.Ed. (Reading), Ph.D. (London): Govern- ment and Administration, 1971-1978.
J. M. Mohapeloa, MA, UED (S.A.), M.Phil. (Sussex) D.Ph.Ed. (honoris causa) (NUL; FCP: Education, 1975-1980
Adrianus Jan de Koning, Ir. T. H. (Delft.) Ph.D. (Cape Town): Chemistry, 1979-1982
J. K. Matsaba, BA, UED, Hons. B.A. (S.A.) B.Ed. (UBLS), M.Ed. (NUL)-. African Languages and Literature, 1981-1982.
P. K. S. Raja - M.Sc. (Benares) Ph.D. (London) A.I.N.P., F.Inst. P. (London) Physics 1979-1985
V. M. Bam - B.A., UED (S.A) B.Ed. (UBL-S) M.A. (Michigan) Education 1965-1985
J. C. Millin - OBE., M.Sc. (Astrou), F.B.I.M.F.I.I.M., M.Inst. A.M., FAA., F.B.S.C.: Business Administration
A. T. Hutcheon, M.Sc. (Sask.), Ph.D. (MCGW) Chemistry 1965-1984.
CAST) Diploma Ed. Media (Indiana), 1988-1991,1992- 1995
HONORARY DEGREE Recipients:
- 1967 Mr. S. T. Sukati, MEB. B.A., former Chairman and Member of the University Council and Speaker of the National Assembly of Swaziland, Doctor of Laws
- 1968 H. E. Sir Seretse Khama, KBE, B.A. Hon. D.LL (Fordham), Chancellor of UBLS 1967-1970, President of the Republic of Botswana, Doctor of Philosophy
- 1971 Professor J. W. Blake, M.A. (Lond.) FRHistS, Vice-Chancellor, UBLS, 1964-1971, Doctor ofleaen
- 1973 Dr. C. W. de IGewict, President Emeritus, University of Rochester, New York, Member of University CounA Doctor of Literature
- 1973 Dr. H. F. Oppenheimer, Chancellor, University of Capc-Town, Chair- man, Aiigio American Corporation, Doctor of Literature
- 1978 Rev. Dr. Romeo GuUbeanit, OMI, M.A., L.Ph., (Ottawa), Pius XII College Rector, 1954-1959, Doctor of Literature
- Dr. J. P. Mohapeloa, OBE, Composer, Doctor of Literature
- 1979 Dr. Nelson R. Mandela, Human Rights Leader, Doctor of Laws
- 1980 Morena Mako Moliboea, Chief of Khanyane, Doctor of philosophy 1981 Dr. Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, Director General of UNESCO, Doctor of Philosophy
- 1993 Dr. Leabua Jonathan, Prime Minister of Lesotho, Doctor of education Dr. Colin Mackay, Former President of the University of New Brunswich, Doctor of Education
- Dr.'Masechele Khaketla, Author and High School Teacher for over 40 years, Doctor of Literature
- 1995 Dr. J.T. Kolane, Former Speaker of the National Assembly 1973-1985, Doctor of Laws
- Dr. M. Damane, Noted Mosotho Historiaii, Doctor of Literature
- Dr. I. Mohamed Noted Professor of Mathematics, Doctor of Science and Mathematics
- 1997 Professor Josias Makibinyane Mohapeloa, Professor and Former Dean of Education, National University of Lesotho, Doctor of Philosophy in Education
- Dr. Julias Kambarage Nyerere, Former President of the Republic of Tanzania, Doctor of Laws
- Professor David Blackwell, Professor of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, Doctor of Science
- 1990 Dr. J.N. Machobane, Agriculturalist & Writer, Doctor of Philosophy Dr. N. Mokhehle, Natural Scientist & Political Leader, Doctor of Laws
- Dr. S.D. Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, Doctor of Laws 1991 Dr. B.T. Mohapeloa, Teacher & Pioneer of Self-help Organisation, Doctor of Letters
- 1992 Dr. O.R. Tambo, Political Leader, Doctor of Laws
- 1997 Dr. Paul Ellenberger
- 2002 Dr. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, Lawyer, Businessman, Labour and Political Leader, Doctor of Laws.
- Dr. Thokoana James Motlatsi, Businessman and Labour Leader, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences