Speaking at the BIUST 2018 STEM Festival, the BIUST Vice Chancellor, Prof. Otlogetswe Totolo, has emphasised that BIUST was created to be one of the engines that will drive Botswana’s socio-economic transformation from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. The three day 2018 STEM Festival themed “STEM Driven Economy: Transforming Research into Profitable Products and Services.”
STEM Festivals are events at which innovations and inventions are acknowledged, celebrated and nurtured. Prof. Totolo further noted that BIUST does this through a curriculum that is relevant, appropriate, problem based-learning and forging strong linkages with business, industry, professionals and the public sector to produce work-ready graduates and to promote dialogue, information sharing and skills and technology transfer.
Totolo stated that in almost every part of the world, competence in STEM is often marginal, Botswana included. This shows reasons STEM is deliberately and assiduously inculcated in learners to ignite their interest and life-long engagement in science, research and technology.
“Since 2015, BIUST has been hosting STEM Festivals. STEM Festivals also provide a platform for innovators and inventors, researchers and academics, from all walks of life, to showcase their inventions, concepts, blueprints, and final products. As they exhibit inventions and putative or commonly accepted products at the BIUST STEM Festivals, businesses and even venture capitalists are keeping a close eye on how they can invest in those new found inventions.” He said.
Totolo further noted that such festivals are a meeting place for those with invention ideas to meet those with investment capacity to package products for industry and ready markets. He stated that from 2015 to 2018, STEM has had a total of 84, 548 participants, 670 people were trained on Information Communications Technology (ICT) and a total of 446 Science Teachers countywide.
STEM coverage areas include but not limited to the following areas;
- Kgatleng District;
- Gaborone City;
- Central District;
- City of Francistown;
- North East District;
- Ghanzi District;
- Kgalagadi District;
- Ngami District;
- North West District;
- Southern District
In motivating participants he concluded by stating that “I urge you all to fully participate in the BIUST STEM Festival 2018 and appreciate local talent of innovation and invention displayed here.” He said.