Two-year delay for Botswana’s science university

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Botswana’s first university dedicated to science and technology will delay opening its doors to students by two years, to 2009.

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology was originally planned to open next year. The government-run news agency BOPA reported the change of plan last week.

”We were over optimistic,” said education minister Jacob Nkate at a press briefing, saying that the challenge of creating a new institution was bigger than had been expected.

Botswana’s parliament approved plans for the university in January.

Since then the government has employed a project coordinator who has begun recruiting key staff. The government is currently setting up a council to help identify and appoint a vice-chancellor.

Nkate said Howard University in Washington DC, United States, is going to provide the education ministry with technical assistance as it develops a master plan for the university.

In April 2005, the government of Botswana and the UN Development Programme published a major report on using science as a tool for the country’s economic and social development.

It called for increased funding to boost research in universities (see Botswana ‘not using its potential for strong science’).

The report also recommended that local institutions develop postgraduate courses in collaboration with foreign partners.