University Bill Pass Second Reading

The Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bill which has been debated since the beginning of winter Parliament, has passed second reading and will go into committee stage at a later date.

Nineteen Members of Parliament supported the move while six MPs were against the Bill.The Bill seeks to provide for the continuation of the Botswana College of Agriculture, which was established under Section 2 of the BCA Act under the name Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Responding to the MPs’ debates about the bill, Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Mr Fidelis Molao said stakeholders were engaged and adequate preparations and consultations were made regarding the idea of transforming a College of Agriculture into a University.

Mr Molao said the transformation was not just a change of names as suggested by some MPs adding that government was serious about the journey it embarked on to transform the college into a centre of excellence.

The assistant minister noted that the word continuation was used just to reflect that the university would inherit the legal status of the existing college, the facilities that were there and the contractual obligations that were already in existence.

He also said government was aware of the resources that were needed to further enhance the university in terms of staffing and other infrastructural needs.

Mr Molao noted that a physical master plan for the institution was currently under consideration by the Gaborone City Council.The Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the assistant minister said it would be an institution that would emphasise on practical application to ensure that graduates were ready for employment upon leaving the institution.

Further, Mr Molao said centres of excellence would be established across different agro-ecological zones to conduct research and provide space for practical application in order to find solution to the challenges in those different areas.

He however acknowledged that issues of staff remunerations and conditions of service should also be key in transforming the College of Agriculture into a University.

Source : BOPA