In Conversation:Kgosi Saungwene (Senior Team Leader, Botho University Admissions Department)

A chat with Kgosi Saungwene, senior team leader at the Botho University admissions department, at the Gaborone Consumer Electronics & Technology Show.

Could you tell me about the institution and the courses that you offer?

We are Botho University. We started in 1997 as a single disciplinary institution, and last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary. This shows that over the years there has been some significant growth in terms of our growth and our product offerings and programs.

When we started, we were only offering one discipline, that was information technology programs. Over the years we have extended our footprint outside Botswana, as well as increased our offerings in terms of programs. We’re now offering programs from the faculty of business and accounting, faculty of engineering and technology, faculty of hospitality and sustainable tourism, as well as the faculty of health and education.

The faculty of engineering and technology is why we felt the need to be a part of this fair today, to showcase our programs from that faculty, as well as some of the infrastructure in terms of the equipment that we have that our students using for the programs that they are studying. These programs are the likes of computer engineering, as well as electrical engineering. We also have network security and computer forensics under the Bachelor of Science. We also have a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Bachelor of Science in Data Science, and a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Risk Management. These are the different programs we have under the faculty of engineering and technology.

This is just to show why we found it befitting to be a part of this event today. The skills and character that we are developing in our students resonates with what is happening here. Some of the people that are exhibiting today are actually getting those skills from our students. They absorb the products we produce at the end of the day.

That said, as an institution, we have campuses locally and internationally. We have a campus here in Botswana, and we also have a campus in Lesotho, Namibia, eSwatini, and we have recently opened a new campus in Accra, Ghana. We are expecting it to have its first intake in the year 2024.

Over and above that, since we have always been known to be a technology driven institution, we have also a blended and distance learning campus, which caters to people who are studying online. With such, we are able to attract applicants from all over the world. We have invested a lot in terms of our infrastructure and the learning environment we use, which is called Blackboard. It is able to facilitate teaching and learning at Botho University.

There are a lot of emerging trends in the world in terms of technology, things such as AI, robotics, coding, gaming, and the likes. How do you think your institution equips its students to be able to go out into the world and adapt to all of these changes and trends?

As I said, we have always been a technology driven institution. When you look at the programs that we have been offering, it’s because we understand that the world is moving in a digital way. Technology is now taking over almost everything; hence, we also need to merge and be at par with what is happening in the market. With the programs we are developing, we are taking into consideration that this is where the world is heading. As such, these skills that you have mentioned are skills that we are developing in our students.

Over and above that, we normally host events and workshops which are able to give our students the opportunity to develop their skills while they are still studying.


Would you say that these initiatives also help students develop their soft skills?

Yes. We ensure that we develop those skills and give them endless opportunities where they are able to experience and see what is happening in the world and how things are being developed. Just yesterday, we hosted our annual Linkz Competition. During this competition, we bring together different institutions and tertiary schools in Botswana to compete within the issues of engineering. As such, we have seen a massive growth in interest from other disciplines which we have extended it to as well. So, we’ve taken it even outside the faculty of engineering and technology to accommodate other faculties as well. This is to ensure that we understand that it is not just the faculty of engineering and technology that we develop. These other disciplines also matter a lot.

For the longest time, we have been running with the motto that states that we are all about innovation at Botho University, and this is why we provide these opportunities. We also have what we call the Botho Graduate Profile, which is a product that we have been producing over the years. We want to produce individuals that are well-rounded and employable, and are job ready by the time they graduate. What will make them job ready is these opportunities we present to them, like the workshops where we polish them while they’re still studying, so that by the time they graduate, they have developed these soft skills, such as innovation and critical thinking.

We also have internship programs that we provide to them while they’re still studying, just to give them hands-on experience, so they have some experience by the time they graduate. The beautiful thing about Botho University is that we have recently introduced what is called integrated learning. This is whereby, even outside of the internships, we give them the opportunity to go to the market to put to practise whatever skills they are developing while they are studying.

Do you have any success stories that you would like to share with us?

Yes. Some of our students went on to participate in Microsoft competitions, who did well, and even went on to compete abroad. There is also the Huawei competition that was previously hosted; our students have excelled and won such competitions, and actually went to compete further. Just to show that in terms of the technology aspect, and the information workspace, we have really equipped our students.

There’s also the feedback we get from the industry. From time to time, we have industry feedback sessions. Because it is these companies and industries that absorb our graduates, we often have platforms where we call them, so that they can share with us information in terms of how our graduates are performing. They give us recommendations, some learning points, as well as success stories from their end, so we can also see how to improve ourselves as a university. We want to ensure that our students are competitive. Not only competitive locally, but also competitive at an international level. As a university that exists on an international platform as well, we ensure that the curriculum that we develop is done in such a way that our graduates can be competitive in whatever it is that they were taught while they were students. These are just some of the things that we do to ensure that our students and our institution stay relevant within the market.

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