The Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana Professor David Norris is a man on a mission.Norris told an impromptu student body meeting on Tuesday that as part of his cleaning exercise at the University he will boot out incompetent staff members this Friday.
Norris said he will kick out anyone who engenders and stimulates the delay of processing and paying of students allowances at the highest institution of learning in the country.
In a recent interview Professor Norris said their students receive their allowances and for that allowance to be credited there should be a submission of names to the Department of Tertiary Education Finance (DTEF)
“Certain offices in the University should do that work but they did not do their work, the list was submitted late and most of the details on the list were not correct, we are currently investigating such issues to see where the inefficiency was, which office was incompetent and if these things are done deliberately or not.”“After investigations, if our staff was sleeping on the job they will be out of the system because we want efficient people at the University, we are going to investigate the finance division, IT division and the academic services and after that appropriate disciplinary steps will be taken accordingly.”
The head of the University said if they feel certain individuals should be subjected to a disciplinary process they will do so with the disciplinary committee expected to be at the forefront. “The disciplinary committee will advise on appropriate disciplinary action to take.” Moreover, Norris is pushing efforts of making the University a student centered institution. “We need to groom these young people to be business people while they are still here, it’s critical to have their business ideas advanced further, if they have ideas they should implement them while they are here.”
“We outsource a lot of things which can be done by our students, if we have to replace bulbs in our offices why should we get a company from outside to do that for us while we have electrical engineering students who can come and do these things, staff members in this institution who studied outside the country will tell you they worked part-time at those institutions.” Norris said students can supplement their allowance if they are well empowered. “Students can make money by just cleaning their room, we should award them opportunities based on what they are studying, we have students studying Tourism we should award them the catering opportunities,” he said.
Quizzed on how soon these things can be implemented, Norris said they are currently receiving proposals from students. “I have met with several students and the Student Representative Council we have proposed that they bring forth ideas and we give them opportunities.“If we are not student-centred we might as well close the University and go home, we don’t want to create a burden for the government of today, if we don’t train our students we are condemning them”.
For his part SRC President at the University Mpho Molokwane said the VC is doing a commendable job. “We have been a victim of people’s incompetence. As the SRC we are glad those days are over under the new leadership of Professor Norris.“As the Student community we have always lacked this kind of leadership, this is what should have been happening over the years. At the moment we are knocking at the doors of every challenge and we are attacking, for the first we have a progressive VC.”