His Majesty the King and Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, King Letsie III has commended NUL that over thirty (30) programmes have been offered probationary accreditation status until the year 2023 while two programmes have received full accreditation by the Council on Higher Education.
The King was opening the 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the 13th Council of NUL on the 28th January, 2019 at the Roma Campus.
The aim of the meeting was to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Annual Report and to review the financial statements of the University for the past year.
Among the University’s successes, the King mentioned the launch of the NUL Innovation Hub in November 2018, establishment of the Water Institute, the Moshoeshoe School of Leadership and Peace, the School of Engineering as well as other programmes that have been developed during the term of Office of the current Council.
“We take pride in the fact that our University is modernising is programmes in response to the changing needs of the society. If well managed, the recently launched Innovation Hub could address the plight of our unemployed youth and stimulate our stagnant economy,” the Chancellor highlighted.
He commended the Innovation Hub as one of the much needed developments in the quest to incubate entrepreneurial culture among the students.
“The strides made by NUL in harnessing expert knowledge for incubating business models from conception to industrial mass production is commendable,” he said.
Since NUL is facing shortage of funds due to the declining government subvention, the King urged NUL Council to assist NUL to search for alternative sources of funding to address the problem and enable the University to implement the existing and envisaged programmes for the development of the country.
The Chancellor reminded the Council members that 2019 is the final year for the 13th Council and it has not been an easy journey. He therefore thanked them for their unwavering commitment to NUL and also for the sacrifices they made in the past two and half years of the service to the University.
“You will, all remember that I cautioned that the journey ahead was not likely to be easy one and urged you, all to be prepared to confront the challenges that this university face with resolve”, His Majesty said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Deputy Minister of Education and Training, Honourable Mothepu Mahapa, congratulated NUL for Innovation Hub and showed that it is a clear evidence of the University’s commitment to play a role as an institute of higher learning in fostering economic growth, job creation and export earnings. He further congratulated Metropolitan Lesotho and LNDC for sponsoring and partnering with NUL.
“The Ministry of Education and Training is convinced that NUL is in the right direction of responding to the national needs as outlined in the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) particularly in the areas such as water, mining, tourism and textiles,” Honourable Mahapa indicated.
Deputy Minister also emphasised that the Ministry aims to work even better with the University. For example, in the proposed Secondary School Curriculum Dissemination Strategy, NUL as a teacher training institution is expected to devote time providing training for teachers on the new curriculum.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Training, I express our hope for a successful National University of Lesotho in the near future. Our Ministry will continue to support NUL to achieve some of its intended development plans”, he added.
Meanwhile, NUL Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nqosa Mahao, clarified that the AGM is a statutory event whereby two items that throw light of the wellbeing of the University are presented. These are the audited financial statements and Vice Chancellor’s report. These two items give the Council, the supreme governing body, an insight to the institution’s performance.
He applauded all for the cooperation and commitment demonstrated in trying to reposition NUL and put it on par with other universities through its academic programmes, research, innovations and community engagement.
“Research and innovation output is now comparable with that of many a university elsewhere. NUL is now a stable, cohesive and exuberant institution focused on its national mandate. It is indeed very surprising that achievements and strides in all sectors have changed the perception about the NUL”, Prof. Mahao said.
Prof Mahao reiterated that new course offerings and programmes have been introduced. He further indicated that scores of other courses and programmes have been reviewed for modernisation and many have received Council on Higher Education full probationary accreditation.
“A couple of other exciting academic and business initiatives such as semesterisation of tuition and mainstream technology in the provision of students and staff services are presently in the offing. A growing cohort of staff have acquired higher qualifications including PhDs even in disciplines where the tradition was lacking. All faculties including the Institute of Extra Mural Studies, run postgraduate programmes thus opening exciting opportunities for Basotho and expatriates to pursue higher studies at NUL,” said the Vice Chancellor.
He expressed concern at the drastic decline in the government subvention over the years, which are crippling the University and hampering the achievement of goals. Not only is it difficult to retain high calibre academics but it also becomes a challenge to equip the young generation with skills for the fourth industrial revolution.
“The deterioration of the financial support to the University has reached a tipping point with the Government subvention dropping from M132m in 2008 to a possible M65m in 2019. Since I have been in office, three Governments have exchanged office. The one constant about them is how they have all failed to address and put to bed the grave financial position of the University.”
Prof. Mahao cautioned that he will not be seeking to renew his contract when it expires in the months ahead and he may well leave earlier. He noted that the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s contract is also expiring later in the year, 2019. “Already, the University has been without a substantive University Librarian for some time and recruitment has not met with much success and equally important, the contract of the Registrar who is the Secretary of the Council is on the review”, Prof Mahao said.
Prof Mahao brought to attention the fact that all these University Officers constitute the Executive Management of the institution.
The Chairman of Council, Mr. Tseko Bohloa indicated that the 13th Council applauds Prof. Mahao and his management team and staff on the efforts on providing the correct leadership and upholding healthy relations between itself and other key players within the realm of human capital development.
Mr Bohloa extended his gratitude to His Majesty and Chancellor for always being present for NUL main events including graduations ceremony.
“On behalf of the 13th Council, I conclude by pledging our allegiance to your office. We stand ready to accept new directives to undertake and discharge our mandate with renewed vigour and determination”, Mr Bohloa concluded.