Saturday, October 11, 2008

Remarks by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, at the Official Openning of Francistown VTC

source: Republic of Botswana (11/10/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 31 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen

1. I am honoured to be invited to perform the official opening of this state-of-the-art dual purpose college. Nothing could be more gratifying than to open an institution that will open its doors to many young people and provide them with the opportunity to acquire skills that are critical for active participation in their country's ongoing socio-economic transformation.

2. The idea of constructing a masterpiece institution, like the one being opened today, was conceived some years ago, and owing to the commitment to accelerating the country's human resource development, the dream of a dual technical and vocational institution has been realized.

3. This college was established mainly to provide Botswana Technical Education Programme (BTEP) qualifications at Advanced Certificate and Diploma levels, thus producing graduates who are flexible and adequately equipped with diagnostic and research skills. The graduates from this college could; if they choose to further their studies, proceed to the Botswana International University of Science and Technology which is expected to open in 2011.

4. We have, for the first time in Botswana, a tertiary level education facility where technical and vocational qualifications and teacher education are provided under the same roof. This arrangement is expected to reduce the cost of teacher education. It is anticipated that once the college is running at full capacity, the majority of teaching practice will be done in-house; thus greatly reducing travelling and other costs associated with assessment of candidates by lecturers.

5. It is a gratifying to open an institution of this magnitude and stature, an institute that is poised to transform not only the education and training landscape, but also the country's readiness for innovation and industrialization. The college is a strategic tool for diversifying the skills development initiatives. Diversification of human resources development is a major challenge for the training and education sector because of rapid economic growth, globalization and rising international competition. In an effort to address this challenge, Botswana has adopted a multi-faceted approach which includes strategies aimed at producing an all-rounded, multi-skilled individual who is ready for diverse opportunities.

6. The college has good facilities and equipment that provide students with the opportunity to do experiments and practicals that simulate industry. My expectation, therefore, is that the graduates would be of such high quality that they would need minimum orientation if they choose to be employed vis-à-vis self-employment. The private sector and industry should therefore consider them very suitable for employment. They will be a valuable source to recruit professionals from.

7. This state-of-art college was realized because of the strong partnership between the European Union and the Government of Botswana. It is, therefore, my pleasure to take this opportunity, on behalf of my government and people of Botswana, to express our sincere gratitude to the European Commission and Member States of the European Union for their generous gesture of support and goodwill. The support, extended to Batswana through funding of the project will go a long way in consolidating our efforts towards achievement of sustainable citizen economic empowerment.

8. Perhaps I need to indicate the magnitude of the costs involved in constructing this facility so that you can appreciate why we are so excited about the achievement of this project. The total cost of the project was P277.7 Million. The EU contributed approximately 75% of this amount.

9. The Government of Botswana is dedicated to providing high quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training, increasing access to this type of education and ensuring that the programmes offered are relevant to the need of the industry. As far as access is concerned, the Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education has a student sitting capacity of 1500, which can be increased to 2500 students through flexible delivery modes.

10. I wish to impress upon the administration and the staff to ensure that this college is a Centre of Excellence as its physical appearance implies. I therefore call upon staff members and students alike to take care of this facility and all the equipment therein. Government has done its part in providing such a magnificent infrastructure that is complimented by state of the art equipment.

11. One of our Vision 2016 pillars is to be a "Moral and Tolerant nation". Hence, it is critical to impart knowledge, skills and right attitudes to students. It is my conviction that once we equip our youth with the right life skills, they will be in a position to put such to proper use and assist themselves and one another, to disengage from social ills; including alcohol and drug abuse. You all have the capacity to live a life of meaning if you strive to find your purpose. You needed to be focused to get where you are today. And please keep focused, because the difference between success and failure is quite often, loss of focus.

12. Lastly, I wish to thank every government department and all other stakeholders who contributed in one way or the other to ensure that this magnificent institution rises above the ground and stands ready for use by all those aspiring to reach their full potential and make a difference.

13. On that note, let me take this opportunity to declare the new Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education officially open and wish all a fun-filled day as you tour the various college facilities and interact with staff and students. PULA!

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