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Florida’s Professor Boukerrou inspires education system transformation

Florida’s Professor Boukerrou inspires education system transformation

By:Tshegofatso Teseletso

“A Country’s development revolves around continuous amplification of its education system & the feasibility of a knowledge-based economy is dependent on equipping employable graduates,” Director International programs & Global Initiatives at Florida International University, Professor Lakhdar Boukerrou said during his honorary visit to the BIUST Campus.

The intent of this appearance was for the duo to prospect & discuss a possible partnership, focusing on areas such as student internships, research opportunities, and the offering of double degree programmes.

When giving welcome remarks, BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo giving welcome remarks enunciated that BIUST was a research-intensive institution, that thrived to produce innovative graduates hence visitations such as these were paramount to achieving its core existence.

Unraveling BIUST to Prof. Boukerrou, Prof.Totolo stipulated that as a research-intensive university they have a vision of being a hub for Academic Excellence, Com-mercial Attractiveness, and Social Relevance. He further accentuated that BIUST was established to equip knowledge workers; that is people who bring and produce scientific and engineering solutions to global problems. “We have strategically positioned ourselves as a catalyst towards the realisation of a knowledge-based economy here in Botswana,” he said.

Prof. Totolo elucidated that BIUST was always looking for lucrative opportunities that-would enable them to grow and offer diverse programs that the market is in dire need of. “A renown university like FIU can assist us to achieve this,” he emphasised. He also stated that the university was working tirelessly to become a university of Industries hence their engagement with diverse companies like Debswaana, CEDA, LEA and Botswana Defense Force.

The delighted ViceChancellor highlighted that(BIUST& FIU) have a common goal which is to amplify the education system hence the need for collaboration to ensure that this dream becomes a reality. “This truly marks a beautiful and blossoming relationship between the two institutions. We are more than happy to learn from Florida and exchange ideas that will enable us to grow as a young university,” the BIUST Vice Chancellor concluded.

For his part, Prof. Boukerrou expressed a hearty appreciation to the Vice Chancellor and the BIUST community for the warm welcome. He emphasized the importance of the education system as a tool that would ensure the equipment of employable graduates. “Our mandate today is not only to exchange academic-based ideas with BIUST but to also learn and grow together,” he said. He further indicated that the reason for all the effort was to improve student preparedness for the global market.

According to the savant Director of International programs & Global Initiatives, the duo must not only identify a common goal but also commit to succeeding. In this regard he highlighted the following as possible collaboration areas with BIUST;

• Collaboration in research
• Exchange in capacity building; student exchange such as internship and collaborative teaching.
• Joint dual degree programs offering

Prof. Boukerrou implored BIUST to always share information with students, as that would enable learners to be responsible for their education and become accountable experts.He also encouraged BIUST staff to brainstorm and instigate possible services or products they can offer to the United States of America-based students, and in that way position themselves in an international market.

Furthermore, Prof. Boukerrou indicated that he intended to share with BIUST USA partnership Opportunities, Research Funding available in the USA, collaborations on online international Learning, and possible opportunities for staff and students. He briefly unraveled FIU to attendees through a university overview, which touched base on already mentioned opportunities as well as their distinctive education system.

The symmetrical flow of events led to an illuminating discussion where BIUST Executive Management got to pose questions and make suggestions on possible areas that they could conjoint with FIU. The dialogue ended successfully with the duo having identified areas of possible collaboration which include student internships, staff exchange, research opportunities, and the offering of double degree programmes.

In closing, BIUST Deputy Vice Chancellor-Research Development and Innovation Prof. Abraham Atta Ogwu implored the two institutions to officially unify through a Memorandum of understanding toward the transformation of the education system. “This is indeed a great opportunity for both BIUST and FIU learners and a substantial step towards a knowledge-based economy,” he concluded. The enlightening and pro-ductive day was cemented by an exploration of selected BIUST labs.