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Vice Chancellor's Message

Vice Chancellor's Message

The University of Swaziland continues to execute its mandate of producing the highly skilled and knowledgeable human capital to bolster the socio-economic development of the Swazi economy and beyond. This mandate is aligned with the University’s core functions, namely teaching, research and community service. It is also aligned with the University’s vision of Leadership through Excellence in Education.

The mission of the University is Excellence in teaching and learning, research and research training, community service, provision of opportunities for consultancy, professional leadership, and enterprise development in the contemporary context. Indeed, the measure of success in the attainment of the University mission lies in the attractiveness and relevance of its programmes, the quality, and the accessibility of its research output, the impact of community service on the beneficiaries, the adequacy of its financial and physical resources, and sustainability of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

The aftermath of the recent global recession, coupled with the revisions in the SACU formula for sharing border proceeds, have negatively affected the University’s financial position. This has had, in turn, a negative impact on the University’s ability to deliver on its mandate. Since October 2010, the University had serious difficulties in meeting its financial obligations because of the cash flow challenges in the country. Indeed, the decline in SACU receipts forced Government to cut substantially the subvention to the University. The net effect of all this is that the University has been forced to equally apply cost-cutting measures, which have had a negative effect on the quality of the programmes and its products.

It is against this backdrop that the University’s current going concern is lack of adequate resources for teaching, research, and community service programmes. For the University to properly and effectively design and implement its programmes, it needs to recruit and retain high quality academic staff of international repute, be able to source teaching materials and research equipment, and ensure that the libraries are well equipped with up-to­date books, print and electronic journals and databases. All these resources are a product of a healthy funding base.

Notwithstanding the above, the University, through the UNISWA Foundation, is working very hard to supplement Government subvention and maintain the quality of its programmes and its products. The University draws comfort from the fact that Government recognizes that education is one of the priority areas for stimulating the economic recovery of the country. Based on this recognition, the University is one of the key educational institutions that should be supported to stimulate the economic recovery of the country. The University continues to ensure that its academic programmes are responsive to the needs of the country’s economy. It pays particular attention to global knowledge economy and the labour needs of the Swazi economy and the region. It is in this context that the University continuously reviews and restructures its academic programmes as well as introduce new ones when the need arises.

During the academic year 2010/2011, the University upgraded the Diploma in Commerce in the Faculty of Commerce and the Diploma in Journalism in the Faculty of Humanities to the Bachelor of Commerce and to the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, respectively.

The University continues to ensure that its academic programmes
are responsive to the needs of the country’s economy.
It pays particular attention to global knowledge economy
and the labour needs of the Swazi economy and the region.
It is in this context that the University continuously reviews
and restructures its academic programmes as well as
introduce new ones when the need arises.

Indeed, for the first time in the history of the University, the Faculty of Agriculture will be offering a PhD degree in the 2011/2012 academic year. Also, beginning from 2012/2013 academic year, the University will replace the five-year degree programmes with four-year degree programmes in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and also offer a Certificate in Psychosocial Support for mainly social care-givers to the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC).

Research has shown that training Bachelor of Education teachers, through the teacher- training college route, is expensive because it takes a minimum of seven years instead of four years. Government has since taken a decision that all government teacher-training colleges (Ngwane and William Pitcher) should become University of Swaziland Colleges. In this regard, negotiations between the University and Government are currently underway to incorporate the two teacher training colleges into the University.

One of the key strategies the University has adopted is to solicit financial support for resources through PPP arrangements. The PPP strategy has an inbuilt win-win dimension in the sense that both parties become winners. Under the PPP configuration of our relationship with the private sector, the University is engaging its existing philanthropists with a view to designing mutually beneficial business solutions. Potential participants under this scheme include telecommunications network companies, sugar millers, and financial institutions.

In an attempt to acquire equipment for the new Engineering Building, the University applied the PPP strategy. The University approached several industries to contribute towards laboratory equipment for the Engineering laboratories so that the engineers produced through the engineering programme will be relevant to the needs of industry.

We are happy to report that the Swaziland Electricity Company has contributed E 3, 000, 000.00 worth of laboratory equipment for the Engineering Department this academic year. The Company has pledged that next year, it will contribute about E 2, 000, 000.00 worth of laboratory equipment for the Engineering programme.

For a number of years the University has had inadequate internet bandwidth of 1.5 Mbps. To address this challenge, the University engaged the Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) to consider contributing to the University by increasing the Internet bandwidth through offering reduced rates. We are pleased to report that SPTC has indeed acceded to our request by contributing E5, 697,576 (i.e., E1, 899,192 per annum) through service discounts for the Internet bandwidth for a period of three years starting in June 2011.

It is indeed pleasing to also report on the annual sponsorship provided by the Swaziland Water Corporation Services amounting to E64, 000 for scholarships under Institutional Advancement. The beneficiaries of this financial assistance are students coming from well-performing students from poor backgrounds. On the other hand, the Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) contributes E60, 000 annually for infrastructure development. We are very grateful to these Corporations.

The University believes that another key strategy for stimulating and reviving the Swazi economy is to educate, train, mentor, coach, and nurture the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). With this view, the University established the Entrepreneurship Business Development Centre (EBDC) in 2009 in response to the national call to develop and promote the small and medium enterprises in the business sector.

Since then, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the University of Edinburg, a Needs Assessment and a Strategic Plan have been completed. The University will use the needs assessment results, the EBDC strategic plan and the PPP strategy to capacitate the Centre and the SMEs. The University is extremely grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat for the financial support towards the EBDC.

In 2012, the University of Swaziland will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Indeed the University has evolved from humble beginnings in 1982 offering fewer programmes in fewer faculties as shown below. In 1982, student enrolment was 1,064, but the enrolment in 2010 was 5,556 students, an increase of 522%. In 1982, the University offered 8 Bachelor’s degrees, 10 Diplomas, and 3 Certificate programmes. Currently, the University is offering 21 Bachelor’s degrees, 6 Diplomas and 10 Certificates. In 1982, the University conferred 105 Degrees. In 2010 the University conferred 1,617 degrees.