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University of Manchester, UB share notes on social responsibility

University of Manchester, UB share notes on social responsibility

Dated : 18.10.2017


In a development akin to that of University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, the University of Botswana has also embarked on some initiatives to drive its strategic priority area of strengthening engagement with its stakeholders.
 
According to the 2008 University of Botswana Strategic Plan, engagement occurs when the University makes a full contribution to the social, economic, civic and cultural aspects of life in the society it serves through professional activities of its academics and institutionally.
 
Similarly, Social Responsibility is one of University of Manchester’s three core strategic goals in the Manchester 2020 Strategy, sitting equally alongside commitments to world-class research and outstanding learning and student experience.
 
It was against this background that the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Professor Benjamin Bolaane told attendants of a public lecture on October 16, 2017 that UB was engaged in a number of initiatives and activities to make a difference in the society it served.
 
The public lecture was on Social Responsibility and Impact: Are Universities making a Difference?  The guest speaker was Professor Paul Mativenga from the University of Manchester Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences who made a presentation on innovative ways universities could use to improve the social and environmental wellbeing of their communities and wider society through teaching, research, public events and other activities.
 
Giving an overview of the impact of the University of Manchester’s social responsibility programme, Professor Mativenga said  the university emphasised on making a difference to the social and environmental well-being of communities through teaching (and socially responsible graduates), research with impact.
 
He said the University of Manchester generated business ideas and solutions as per research outcomes besides promoting environmental sustainability through cultural exchanges despite such being a major challenge.
 
He observed that promoting environmental sustainability, the University of Manchester focused on addressing inequalities and improving lives in the city and greater region of Manchester. Further, such was achieved through quality diversification and procurement process to protect the good image of the University. 
 
The Manchester don also reckoned that the University also encouraged students to volunteer in community projects, hence a plan to develop a programme through which everyone would graduate within access of a social responsibility agenda. Professor Mativenga also stated that staff members served as local schools governors to help in developing leadership and improving the state of the schools.
 
The University also engaged the community through cultural expos, and offered some individuals with jobs around the University as well as scholarships, he added.
 
Likewise, Professor Bolaane said despite the challenges UB faced, there were a number of initiatives geared towards driving its strategic priority area of engagement with Batswana, part of which was through volunteering services to communities particularly in areas of architecture, urban planning, and the construction industry.
 
Other contributions that UB made towards major community projects that Professor Bolaane mentioned included providing architectural engineering towards construction of a rehabilitation centre for children living with cancer, a solar energy plant and a morula nut cracker for the Thamaga community.
 
The Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Professor David Sebudubudu, said UB’s engagement initiatives was broad and included UB Foundation sponsorships for graduate students, and academics also volunteered their services to various organisations especially in the area of research.
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