- Union says gov’t is legally bound to appoint Council
- Management is making decisions without benefit of oversight review
- Union concerned external views are not represented
- Minister says appointment process “will be completed soon”
Failure by the government to appoint people to the University of Botswana Council has resulted in a dysfunctional institution of higher learning casting doubt over decisions made solely by the executive management of UB, the University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSSU) has said.
The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoTERST) is legally bound to appoint a new council when the term of the previous one ends, which happened a few months ago.
The Secretary General of UBASSSU, Dr Keoneeng Magocha, told The Botswana Gazette this week that UB has become dysfunctional due to the absence of a council. Magocha said UB Council plays a critical role in operations of the institution and acts as an oversight body.
“The main mandate of the council is to exercise general oversight over UB and to represent the external views with expectation that all sectors are represented in decision-making,” he noted.
“However, the non-existence of the Council means that executive management runs UB alone. This is very bad for the institution as there is no body in an oversight role, meaning that external views are not represented. There is no longer collective representation in decision-making. As things stand, no one has the power to question or reject decisions made by executive management. In the normal order of things, all decisions suggested by management are tabled before the Council for review and conclusion.”
Dr Magocha added that in the ongoing transformation of UB, it is important to have a running council advising management in all decision-making. The union is concerned that executive management is now formulating the transformation alone and without an oversight body. “This is the nation’s university whose reputation the management should not risk by taking decisions alone,” he asserted.
“We tried to seek an explanation for the delayed appointment of the new council but failed to get clear answers. We are not saying management does not have the potential to take decisions alone but rather that we are worried about the lack of representation of other sectors because we believe that they might be left out.”
Reached for comment, the minister responsible for tertiary education Dr Douglas Letsholathebe confirmed the delay in appointing a new UB Council but said the process of doing so is currently underway and “will be completed soon”. Dr Letsholathebe added that consultations may have delayed the process.