The National University of Lesotho (NUL) through its Department of Business Administration in the Faculty of Social Sciences together with the Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to augment NUL’s programme on Accounting and Finance, at the Roma Campus.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, NUL Pro-Vice-Chancellor (a.i.) Prof. Beatrice Ekanjume-Ilongo stated that as part of this collaboration, LIA has already assisted NUL by paying M100,000 towards the accreditation of the new Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance programme by the Council on Higher Education.
“NUL and LIA have developed a programme that meets international standards so that our students are marketable worldwide as well as to ensure that the whole nation benefits from the two institutions’ expertise and financial resources”, she added.
Most notably, this alliance will strengthen the accounting programme and make it a locally and internationally recognized qualification. LIA will provide NUL students with practicals and attachments in order to align theory to practice.This will, in turn, open up doors for the students’ future employment by their respective accredited employers.
LIA President, Mr. Sebehela Selepe highlighted that in order to ensure the programme meets international standards, LIA will support by sourcing part-time lecturers and adjunct resource people. This will help raise the image and profile of the accounting profession in the country.
“The need for this kind of agreement is long overdue. It is a standard practice that accountancy qualifications offered by the universities such as the proposed Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance are underwritten and accredited not only by the Council on Higher Education but also by Professional Accountancy Organisations such as the Lesotho Institute of Accountants. This agreement puts NUL at par with other universities in the world”, Mr Selepe emphasized.
He pleaded with NUL to ensure that the programme is maintained and regularly reviewed to continue to meet international standards.
In addition, NUL students will get an opportunity to become student-members of the professional body (LIA) and become full members as soon as they graduate.
The Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof. Peter Khaola, indicated that partnerships and collaborations are some of the strategic goals of the NUL Strategic Plan 2015-2020 which, among others, aims to produce graduates that are job creators rather than job seekers.
He reassured the partners that NUL will do whatever it takes to ensure a successful implementation of the MOU.
“NUL will start offering the new Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance programme as soon as the accreditation is completed. We shall phase out the old Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting over the years. We shall budget for software packages, regular reviews and personnel”, said Prof. Khaola.
In his closing remarks, NUL Vice-Chancellor (a.i.), Professor Kananelo Mosito acknowledged this unusual collaboration whereby a locally established professional body takes interest in the matters of the University.
“The Council on Higher Education accreditation standards require Higher Education Institutions to partner with non-academic institutions in order to strengthen academic programmes. LIA is has led the way by financing the accreditation of an academic programme at NUL”, he stated.
Prof. Mosito also mentioned that NUL is in the process of establishing professional and academic “Chairs” whereby professional bodies, alumni and friends can support a school. Such chairs will be named after respective sponsors. The creation of an endowed academic chair allows the Faculty to develop and enhance its scholarship in a priority area of study and research as well as to recruit faculty members from among the best scholars in the world.
LIA was established by the Accountants Act of 1977, which gives the Institute the mandate of regulating the accountancy practice in Lesotho. Its mission is to develop, enhance and effectively regulate the accounting profession in Lesotho through the provision and examination of internationally recognized education and training programmes, as well as ensuring compliance.