The University of Botswana has appointed Professor Benjamin Bolaane, formerly head of Architecture and Planning, dean of faculty of engineering and technology, Botswana Guardian has learned.
Professor Bolaane assumed his new office in August 1 following former dean Joseph Chuma’s resignation earlier this year for Botswana International University of Science and Technology. Prof Bolaane’s new appointment comes at a time when the Faculty Appointments, Promotions and Reviews Committee (FAPRC) at the Faculty of Engineering and Technology owned up to losing staff. Over ten staff academics from FET have since left to Botswana International University of Science and Technology this year, which BG News has been informed have not been replaced yet.
An issue paper that FAPRC addressed to University of Botswana Vice Chancellor, Thabo Fako earlier this year warned that if UB does not implement extraordinary measures to stem the tide the staff movements would continue unabated. It contends that at a strategic level, this heightens competition in staff and student recruitment between FET and well-resourced institutions. Both BIUST and BITRI pay over 40 percent more than FET and have competitive conditions of work.
The paper attributes FET’s inability to recruit and retain staff at various levels of the academic and technical cadre to poor salaries, tenure conditions, immigration issues and a high teaching load. FAPRC is also concerned that the exodus of highly qualified staff from FET will undermine the school’s accreditation of programmes, as such a process requires staff at different levels with certain specialisations and capabilities. “Failure in the accreditation of programmes will make FET irrelevant and less attractive to students and industry,” FAPRC warns. In response, UB spokesperson Mhitshane Reetsang said they are in the process of recruiting staff for UB. She said plans were ongoing to fill vacant positions at FET after the appointment of the new dean. “We are looking at attracting the right candidates through the right procedure, both locally and internationally,” she said, adding that preference is given to members of the academic first.
In 2010/2011 UB registered the highest number of fail and discontinue with about 600 failing dismally. An analysis of the job adverts for the five years from 2008 to 2012 revealed a large number of unfilled lecturer, senior lecturer and professor posts. For example, there were 10 advertised posts in 2008, most of which were at the level of professor. In 2009, the number of adverts grew to 13 professors, 23 in 2010 and 33 in 2011. In 2012, there were 176 vacant posts.