NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO

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Address by His Majesty King Letsie III,Chancelor of the National University of Lesotho at the Inauguration of the Vice-Chancelor,Professor N.Mahao,on 21.03.2015

CHAIRMAN  OF COUNCIL,YOUR EXCELLENCIES,  MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC  CORPS AND HEADS OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY COUNCIL,MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY SENATE VICE-CHANCELLOR,LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

 

 

LET ME EXPRESS MY PROFOUND APPRECIATION  FOR THE UNIQUE   PRIVILEDGE  AND  SINGULAR HONOUR BESTOWED UPON ME TO PRESIDE OVER THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OF THE 9TH VICE-CHANCELLOR,  PROFESSOR NQOSA LEUTA MAHAO.IT IS COMMONLY  KNOWN  THAT  THE  POST  OF VICE- CHANCELLOR  IS THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS  AND  HIGHLY COVETED  IN A  UNIVERSITY  SETTING.    IT IS THE  CLIMAX  OF WHAT AN ACADEMIC  CAN ACHIEVE  BEYOND  THE  RANK OF A PROFESSOR.

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS  PROFFESSOR  MAHAO,    BUT   DO   NOT RELAX   EVEN   FOR   ONE   MOMENT   AS   THIS   ACHIEVEMENT USHERS IN MORE AND MORE WORK AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.

 

 

CHAIRMAN  OF COUNCIL,

 

I SHOULD  ALSO  LIKE  TO  RECOGNIZE  THEIR  EXCELLENCIES MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS, VISITING VICE CHANCELLORS AND NEW DEPUTIES FROM   OUR   SISTER UNIVERSITIES, WHOSE   PRESENCE  AMONGST US  ADDS  AN AURA  OF POMP AND DIGNITY TO THIS IMPORTANT CEREMONY. WE  THANK  YOU  FOR SACRIFICING   YOURCOMMITMENTS IN  ORDER  TO  JOIN  US  IN  THIS  GLORIOUS MOMENT.

 

 

DISTINGUISHED  GUESTS,

 

THIS INAUGURATION IS A MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH WE PUBLICLY FAMiliARISE    PROFFESSOR   MAHAO  AS  THE  VICE- CHANCELLOR  WITH THE SYSTEMS, VALUES  AND TRADITIONS THAT CHARACTERISE  THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO. THIS  CEREMONY  FOLLOWS  HIS ASSUMPTION  OF DUTY ON 20TH   NOVEMBER  2014.   ON ASSUMING  HIS DUTIES, HE  WAS    IMMEDIATELY GREETED BY THE KNOWN   AND PERSISTENT  CHALLENGES  THAT DO NOT ONLY CONTINUE TO DOMINATE OUR NATIONAL DEBATES, BUT ALSO HAUNT US AS A  NATION  BOTH  INDIVIDUALLY  AND  COLLECTIVELY. AT  THE PINNACLE OF THESE  CHALLENGES,  IS THE STICKY  PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT  OF OUR GRADUATES.    ON GRADUATION DAY, THE GRADUANDS'  FACES ALWAYS  GLOW WITH RAYS OF HOPE AMIDST  ULULATIONS  AND  RESOUNDING  JOY OF SUCCESS,  ONLY TO BE SHATTERED  A FEW DAYS AND YEARS BEYOND GRADUATION.

 

 

IT HAS ALMOST  BECOME A NORM THAT A GRADUATE  STAYS UNEMPLOYED  FOR AT LEAST FOUR (4) YEARS DESPITE EXORBITANT INVESTMENT COSTS INCURRED IN THEIR EDUCATION.    THE  QUESTION  THAT  SHOULD  BE POSED  AND ANSWERED  IS WHY ARE  OUR  GRADUATES  ACROSS  ALMOST ALL THE  DISCIPLINES  UNEMPLOYED  IN THE  COUNTRY?     WE MAY NEVER KNOW THE ANSWER  TO THIS QUESTION  UNLESS WE UNDERTAKE A ROBUST AND HOLISTIC INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCH  STUDY.    THE  SUGGESTION   FOR A  DEEPER  AND PROBING STUDY IS PREMtSED ON THE FACT THAT EDUCATED LABOUR FORCE IS ONE OF THE NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS, PRIORITIES AND  IS ENSHRINED  IN THE NATIONAL  STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT   PLAN  WHICH   CALLS  FOR  "EDUCATION   FOR ALL".    IT IS ALSO ARTICULATED  IN THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF  LESOTHO  STRATEGIC PLAN  AND  MISSION.      HOWEVER , THERE  IS  STILL  NO  VISIBLE  IMPACT. THERE  IS ALSO  NO LINKAGE BETWEEN THESE LOFTY STATEMENTS  IN THE DOCUMENTS  AND WHAT  OBTAINS  ON THE GROUND.   HENCE THERE  IS A "GAP" THAT  NEEDS TO  BE INVESTIGATED  IF WE ARE TO FIND A LASTING SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT  OF OUR GRADUATES.

 

 

I DELIBERATELY DWELL ON THIS SUBJECT BECAUSE PRODUCTIVELY  ENGAGED  PEOPLE PROMOTE,  ENHANCE AND ACCELERATE   ECONOMIC  GROWTH  AND  PRODUCTIVITY  AND VICE-VERSA.    UNEMPLOYMENT  HAS TO BE DECLARED A NATIONAL CRISIS TO BE ADDRESSED VIGOROUSLY AND SYSTEMATICALLY  AT ALL LEVELS AND FROM ALL ANGLES.

 

 

CHAIRMAN  OF COUNCIL DISTINGUISHED  GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

 

ROYAL PALACE 

KINGDOM  OF LESOTHO

 

INTIMATELY RELATED TO THE ABOVE  PROBLEM,  IS THE PERENNIAL  SHORTAGE  OF  BUDGETARY  RESOURCES  WHICH IN TURN, IMPACTS NEGATIVELY ON THE UNIVERSITY'S ABILITY TO RESPOND EFFECTIVELY TO THE DYNAMIC, EMERGING MARKET AND INDUSTRY DEMANDS AND NEEDS.THE  UNIVERSITY'S  PROGRAMMES  SHOULD  BE TAILORED  TO MEET THE  REQUIREMENTS  OF THE  STAKEHOLDERS  AND  BE MARKET-DRIVEN   IN ORDER  TO  BRIDGE  THE  GAP BETWEEN WHAT IS TAUGHT  IN THE CLASSROOM  AND THE REALITIES OF THE EMPLOYMENT MARKET.

 

 

CHAIRMAN  OF COUNCIL,

 

I AM  RELIABLY  INFORMED  THAT  UPON  HIS ASSUMPTION   OF DUTY  AND,   IN  RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE CHALLENGES, PROFESSOR MAHAO PROPOSED   AND   INTRODUCED THE CONCEPT   OF  A  SENIOR   MANAGEMENT   TEAM,  WHICH  WAS ADOPTED.   THE  PURPOSE  OF THIS TEAM  IS TO ASSIST  IN A VARIETY OF STRATEGIC ISSUES.    SUBSEQUENT TO THE FORMATION OF THE MANAGEMENT TEAM, A WORKSHOP WAS HELD  TO  REVIEW  THE  UNIVERSITY'S   STRATEGIC  PLAN AND TO  PROPOSE THE WAY  FORWARD.   AN AD-HOC COMMITTEE WAS ALSO ESTABLISHED  TO DRAFT A NEW BILL TO ADDRESS DEFICIENCES AND CONTRADICTIONS INHERENT IN THE UNIVERSITY'S LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK. REGARDING REVITALISATION OF THE PROGRAMMES, PROFESSOR MAHAO   HAS   INITIATED NEGOTIATIONS WITH SOME REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES.FOLLOWING THESE CONSULTATfONS, THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH    AFRICA (UNISA),FOR   EXAMPLE,    HAS   AGREED   TO   ALLOW    THE UNIVERSITY  TO   ACCESS,    DOMESTICATE   AND ADAPT ITS PROGRAMMES  OFFERINGS TO THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO  SETTING. THIS  COOPERATION  BETWEEN THE  NUL AND  UNISA    IS    IN   LINE    WITH THE MEMORANDUM    OF UNDERSTANDING WHICH OUTLINES UNISA'S COMMITMENT TOWARDS EMPOWERMENT    AND   CAPACITY    BUILDING   OF OTHER  UNIVERSITIES  OF THE AFRICAN  UNION.    UNISA ALSO EXTENDS ASSISTANCE THROUGH ITS STAFF, TO THE MANAGEMENT  OF OPEN DISTANCE  LEARNING  PROGRAMMES TO   BE   OFFERED   AT   THE   MASERU   CAMPUS   POPULARLY KNOWN   AS   THE   INSTITUE   OF   EXTRA   MURAL   SERVICES, (IEMS).

 

 

IN ADDITION, PROFFESSOR MAHAO     IS    ENGAGED     IN CONSULTATIONS  WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF WITWATERSRAND IN    JOHANNESBURG,      TO     EXPLORE   POSSIBILITIES     OF CUSTOMISING  AND  INTRODUCING  SHORT  TERM  EXECUTIVE EDUCATION   PROGRAMMES    ON   PART-TIME   BASIS   TO   BE ACCESSED   ALSO  AT  MASERU CAMPUS   BY  THE  WORKING CLASS.IT IS MY HOPE THAT ALL  OF THESE  NOBLE  INITIATIVES  WilL LEAD    OUR    UNIVERSITY  TOWARDS  BEING A BETTER INSTITUTION  OF  HIGHER  LEARNING  WHICH  WE  CAN  ALL  BE PROUD OF.

 

 

CHAIRMAN  OF COUNCIL, DISTINGUISHED  GUESTS,

 

WITH THESE FEW REMARKS, I ONCE AGAIN WISH TO CONGRATULATE PROFESSOR  MAHAO ON HIS ACHIEVEMENT. FINALLY, IT IS MY HONOUR AND PRIVllEDGE   TO DECLARE THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OPEN.

 

 

KHOTSO!   PULA!!   NALA!!!