An initiative of Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) directed at strengthening a pipeline of Mathematics and Science students from pre-tertiary levels of education in the country to tertiary institutions, particularly to BIUST. The endeavour is motivated by the low numbers of students interested in Mathematics and Science. This is meant for students to take-up the Science and Technology programmes that would transform Botswana into a knowledge-based economy, which it aspires to be. This is a new concept in Botswana and without precedence and benchmark within Botswana.
To enhance the life and well-being of Batswana and the world through Science, Engineering and Technology.
To provide globally competitive and high quality Science, Engineering and Technology academic programmes in order to produce employment-ready graduates through excellence in teaching, learning, research, collaborative partnerships, industry linkages and community engagement.
The challenge of scarcity of Mathematics and Science students in Botswana
There is ample evidence to show that Mathematics and Science are challenging subjects to students particularly at the pre-tertiary levels of Botswana’s education landscape. While there could be numerous causes such as a learning environment devoid of adequate support for excellence in Mathematics and Science, one of the obvious causes is the phobia for Mathematics and Science that leads to a myth that mathematics and science are challenging subjects with a potential for frustrating a student’s future. The Directorate, through two of its sections, namely the PUAP unit and the Extension and Regional Technical Support Centres (ERTSC) Wing endeavour to demystify Mathematics and Science.
Strengthening a path of Mathematics and Science students from pre-tertiary levels of education to tertiary level involves a broad range of activities and programmes such as:
- Visits by school children to the BIUST’s Learning Arenas (Science Parks, Research Centres etc).
- Develop Mathematics and Science support chain linking primary schools, secondary schools and the BIUST (Feeder Chains).
- Live interactive participation in solving Mathematics and Science problems (Tele-conferencing between the BIUST experts and learners in different parts of the country (Use of designated satellite Centres in the various regions of Botswana).
- Mentoring of Elementary/Primary and Secondary School students enrolled in the BIUST programme.
- In-residence (on the BIUST campus) experience for the Elementary/Primary and Secondary School students.
- 4-6 week additional enrichment residential programmes (on the BIUST campus) during the long vacation period.
- Establish Mathematics and Science gaps between University standards and those pertaining in high schools with a view to develop programmes that would continually bridge the gap while students are still in their schools to avert the need for preparatory year.
- Ascertain Mathematics and Science gaps between University standards and those in related Technical Colleges with a view to bridging the gaps to ensure articulation of related Technical Colleges’ programmes. (Articulation of technical college curriculum to facilitate the transfer of credits earned at technical colleges to BIUST.
- Support Mathematics and Science fairs (nationally).
- Intensify academic readiness programmes that provide tutoring, additional classes and academic support throughout the academic year in Mathematics and Science subjects to bridge any gap.
BIUST strives to impact directly on the lives of Batswana through interaction and interface at the level of the people. Through District Extension and Regional Technical Support Centers BIUST’s impact resonates nationally and is unlimited by geographical placement thus forestalling the ‘Ivory Tower’ phenomenon. The Extension and Regional Technical Support Centers are depositories for district technical problems and solutions dissemination points for the university (technical solutions centers). The centers are aimed at directly contributing to the socio-economic development of all districts in Botswana and are interfaces through which the university, using its expert pool to:
- provide a platform for utility of BIUST‘s Technical Expertise through;
- relevant academic programmes offered to district communities as dictated by specific milieus,
- consultancies and researches in matters of mutual interest to the university and communities,
- continuing education and lifelong learning programmes to locals and industry employees leading to full degrees any other levels as demanded by the university.
- locally directed interventions or community outreach endeavours such as ‘student role-modeling and mentoring’ to disadvantaged children in communities.
- provide support to small and medium enterprises through training and workshops for instance in entrepreneurship and in any emerging areas of need lying within the BIUST’s sphere of expertise.
- Create Public Awareness of Science by :
- Nurturing and mentoring of learners and public (in identified problem areas) through various media thus building the needed confidence. This will include in-residence (on the BIUST campus) expertise; enrichment of residential programmes during university vacation; live interactive participation in solving Mathematics and Science problems.
- Establishing and conducting mobile Science circuses that will reach out to learners throughout the country to bring about live interactive Mathematics and Science activities.
- Development of Science Centers that will enable interaction with and observation of natural and scientific phenomena (exposure, play, admiration, experimentation, utilisation etc).
- Creating Mathematics and Science support chain-linking primary schools, secondary schools, relevant Technical College and the BIUST (Feeder Chain).
- Supporting Mathematics, Science and Technology fairs.