Donations that University of Botswana received from Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Fair Price are no doubt an investment towards Botswana’s human resource capital development drive. Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, acknowledged this during a ceremony to appreciate a P100 000 donation from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and a consignment of paints from Fair Price last week.
Highlighting some of the pillars of a new strategy UB was about to launch, Professor Norris said the donations would go a long way in nurturing an environment conducive for teaching and learning. Thus, for human resource capital development to occur and succeed, the environment should, in addition to providing all the necessary tools, create a memorable experience for learners on campus.
As such, Professor Norris noted that the P100 000 donation would be invested in providing learners and lecturers with gadgets such as data loaded simcards and laptops for online teaching and learning while the paints would help refurbish student residences to improve their living conditions.
He said given the new strategy would be anchored on a well capacitated human resource, it was prudent as well to invest in tools that would facilitate a smooth implementation of the strategy besides creating favourable living conditions for learners lest such impacted negatively on their psycho-social wellbeing. Part of the pillars of the new strategy is to generate third stream income through research and commercialization of the services and products that UB can render the public and industry.
Consequently, Professor Norris said it was no longer sustainable to run a university as big as the University of Botswana solely on government subvention. Instead, UB should use its expertise as well as state-of-the-art facilities such as laboratories to link with industry and solve societal problems, thereby generating third stream income for itself.
Professor Norris said COVID-19 had demonstrated that heavy reliance on other countries for even simple items such as toothpicks or matches was detrimental hence UB should become a catalyst in transforming Botswana’s economy by providing incubation space for the manufacturing industry.
In response, Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman, Mr Zhongwen Hu, also acknowledged that the donation they made would help improve the standard of education in Botswana. Mr Zhongwen observed that although it was the first time they were donating to UB, they had all along been donating to schools around the country in their quest to help improve the standard of education.
He said the P100 000 they donated was from Chinese individuals in Botswana which they collected through the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Gaborone Chinese Overseas Service Centre. That, he added, was a generous gesture to forge strong ties with UB in its drive to develop Botswana’s human resource capital.
Meanwhile, Fair Price Chief Executive, Mr Mazhar Amin, said their small efforts towards supporting learning institutions were geared towards empowering students as future diamonds of this country. Mr Amin was reacting to Professor Norris’ statement that Fair Price had been giving support to other institutions in the country. He concurred with Professor Norris that for the students to become the diamonds the country desired, their living conditions should be a matter of concern hence the donation of paints towards refurbishment of student residences.
Giving a vote of thanks, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Happy Siphambe, also underscored the importance of investing in education. Professor Siphambe observed that a tool through which individuals lives of ordinary citizens could be transformed for the better. He said Chinese Chamber of Commerce together with Fair Price had planted a seed they would in time see blossoming into a gem. “One day we will invite you to come and see the fruits of your labour,” he observed.