The conception of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) can be traced to the national strategic shift that came with the Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) of 1994. Unlike the country’s first Education Policy of 1977 dubbed ‘Education for Kagisano’ whose thrust was ‘access and equity’, the RNPE shifted focus to ‘quality’ and emphasized an education system geared at the world of work.
RNPE recognised the realities of globalisation and envisaged an education system that would produce globally competitive graduates.
RNPE recognised Science and Technology as the driving engines in transforming the country from a pre-dominantly agro-based economy to an industrial economy, hence the subsequent establishment of a National Science and Technology Policy in 1998.
In October 2003, the government of Botswana established a Taskforce to investigate requirements, carry out consultations and make recommendations on the setting up of the second University in the country with a bias to science and technology.
The Taskforce was chaired by Prof Mpuchane, and other members were F.M Mawela, D. Tafila, J.B. Galeforolwe, D.R.Tau, E.J.Kemsley, L.T.Moahi, B.Z.Tlale and D.N.Mokgethi.
The secretariat of the Taskforce comprised Dr Haniso Motlhabane, E. Odotei, K.N.Sebina and I. Ndai-Paulos.
The Taskforce presented its report in May 2004.
Government adopted the report of the Taskforce in October 2004 through Presidential Directive CAB.33(B)/2004. The Directive stated that
· the second University shall be a World-Class Science and Technology biased University
· It shall be located in Palapye/Serowe area
· It shall be developed through the PPP model
· It shall be fastracked to start operating in August 2007
Immediate priorities were;
· Establishment of the BIUST Act (facilitation of the drafting and adoption by Parliament)
· Acquisition/negotiation for land from the Ngwato Landboard
· Establishment of a Project Implementation Team
· Request for a start-up fund for the University; establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Reference (a predecessor to the BIUST Interim Council)
· Establishment of the BIUST Council
· Initiating an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the land
· Identifying and establishing linkages with critical stakeholders locally and internationally.
A consideration for a temporary site option was made in view of the tight schedule for the project delivery (2007) and the realities associated with such a complex project. The temporary address would ensure that the target time for opening the University as prescribed in the Presidential Directive is met while ensuring that the quality and concept of the University is not compromised and that government’s preferred mode of delivering infrastructure (PPP) is allowed to take its natural life cycle and process. The first BIUST Council was appointed on the basis of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology Act and inaugurated in November 2006.
The term of office of the first members of Council elapsed in May 2009.
A Project Implementation Team (PIT) was established on the basis of the Presidential Directive that established the University to facilitate the establishment of the University. Members were seconded from different ministries with effect from April 2007.
As a consequence of many factors, including inadequacy of the Project Implementation Team and its lack of project management skills, the Minister of Education established a BIUST Executive Committe of Council to exercise powers of the University Management and Administration until such time that the Vice Chancellor is appointed, and to continue supporting the Vice Chancellor until adequate structures are in place.
Among other things, the Executive Committee was to provide strategic leadership to the BIUST development in all its activities (Human Resource, Academic and Physical Development), guide in the development of policies and operational systems of the institution including the management structure of BIUST, guide in the allocation and use of resources. The then Tertiary Education Council was drafted in by the Minister to assist in providing an impetus in project management and development of project plans and direction.
A 2 500 hectare plot was acquired in Palapye for the construction of the BIUST Campus. Key staff recruitment and development of an academic, organisational and human resources design framework followed.
A contractor for the founding development was engaged. While construction of the first phase of the founding campus in Palapye was under construction, the BIUST 2012/2013 academic year started in August 2012 at the Oodi College for Applied Arts and Technology.
All the facilities that are required by BIUST, such as laboratories, lecture theatres, administration space, parking, roads, recreational and sporting facilities, IT networks and security, were available at the Oodi College for Applied Arts and Technology.
With the first phase of the founding campus now completed, the 2014/2015 academic year will start at the Palapye Campus as scheduled.