King speaks on NUL programmes
KING Letsie III has urged National University of Lesotho (NUL) staff to work hard to ensure full accreditation of all the institution’s programmes.
The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has granted partial accreditation to some of the university’s courses while their evaluation continues.
His Majesty is the Chancellor of the NUL and made the remark during Monday’s opening of the university’s annual general council meeting.
“Chairman of the Council, the accreditation process for self-evaluation has come at an opportune time. I congratulate faculties whose programmes have already been given partial accreditation and urge staff and management to work harder to ensure full accreditation in the near future,” he said.
The accreditation process offered NUL an opportunity to examine its programmes “with a critical eye and review them in line with today’s life imperatives and challenges, technological developments, as well as the needs of the country”, he added.
King Letsie III also said he was aware of the steps NUL had taken to reorganise its academic structures.
“Many universities throughout the world have gone through this process to ensure efficiency and effectiveness for their operations. Again, we congratulate you, vice-chancellor, for your foresight and vision, and wish you Godspeed as you pursue these challenging endeavours,” His Majesty said.
The King also said he had been informed a medical school was on the agenda of the university.
He pointed out that the strategic importance of the medical school could not be overemphasised.
“However, important as it is, this matter needs to be handled with great care, with an in-depth analysis of all related issues being conducted.
“You will agree with me that a medical school requires to be well-resourced so that it does not just start but also remains sustainable for the nation to derive benefits from the facility in the long term,” said His Majesty.
He also noted the financial challenges faced by the university, but also said NUL should embark on revenue-generating activities.
“Madame Minister, while we applaud the university’s achievements, we are fully aware of the financial challenges that it faces.
“We are mindful of the economic situation our country faces, and the competing demands for limited resources from different educational sectors and institutions.
“That is why the university will always remain grateful for the financial support it receives from the government. However, I have often stated that in order to address the challenges of limited financial resources, the university should resort to revenue-generation activities of its own.
“The one resource that universities have in abundance is skilled human capital that the public and private sectors are constantly seeking to engage to carryout consultancy work. A consultancy group of lecturers could be in a position to offer competitive rates in the market to secure winning bids,” His Majesty said.
However, the King warned such initiatives should not compromise the quality of day-today academic work and programmes.
“Some of these ventures are pursued in partnership with the private sector, university staff and students, and this is, indeed, a very positive development which we should all be proud of,” said King Letsie III.
Speaking at the same event, Education and Training Minister Dr Mahali Phamotse said her ministry emphasised access, quality and relevance of higher education to the needs of Lesotho.
The Minister commended the university for increasing its student intake from 9139 in the 2014/2015 academic year to 9 476 in 2015/2016.
Dr Phamotse said more courses had been introduced particularly the resuscitated postgraduate programmes in almost all the faculties.
“At least four degree programmes have been accredited by the Council on Higher Education, namely BSC Ed, BA Economics, Bcom Accounting and Bachelor of Pharmacy.
“However, we still face a challenge of relevance and quality assurance in most programmes as well as graduate demand and supply systems. We are not doing well at all, especially in the production and supply of teachers, lawyers, social workers and public administrators. We produce far more than the nation demands in the market.
“The establishment of systems that effect coordination among tertiary institutions is long overdue for the purpose of tackling the problem of overproduction of human resources and duplication of qualifications,” said Dr Phamotse.
KING Letsie III