NewsScrutator

University of cash and tosh

AFTER a meticulous verification of votes Scrutator is thrilled beyond measure to announce that Limkokwing University is the 2011 winner of the Mediocrity Award.

Hooray! Limkokwing University won the mediocrity contest by a margin so wide that Scrutator is beginning to doubt if there was any need to announce a long list of nominees.

Limkokwing beat other nominees hands down.

It was in a league of its own this year.

So how did a university so pompous about itself become the undisputed winner of the Mediocrity Gong this year?

Well, the answer is as clear as a goat’s behind.

When Limkokwing started in 2008 it was moderately a joke that only the smart ones would chuckle at.

In 2009, a year after its controversial entry into Lesotho, the university became a joke for everyone including even the dimwitted amongst us.

In 2010 the university became such a hilarious joke that it became a national laughing stock.

It was a poster child of all things we have bungled in this country (and believe you me we bungle a lot here).

 

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Then this year people stopped laughing.

Limkokwing had become a joke that had ceased to be funny.

As usual, Basotho had belatedly come back to their senses and realised that there was nothing funny about this bare-bone college.

They realised there was nothing so humorous about a university that foists half-baked degrees on their children.

They came to know that Limkokwing’s so-called associate degree is a bastardised certificate that no proper university in this world would take seriously.

And when they discovered that they were paying through the nose for these mini-degrees they were pained.

Basotho are a resilient people but they were shattered to discover that as an investment Limkokwing is something of a Ponzi scheme.

It had promised a huge return on investment in the form of world-class degrees but was churning out short course certificates whose durations are deliberately extended to hoodwink the students to believe they are actually working towards
a degree.

When it comes to value for money Limkokwing is the mother of all scandals.

How, for the life of me, does it justify making students pay an average M60 000  for something that is not even equivalent to a year and a half of a National University of Lesotho degree for which students are paying about M40 000?

Talk about paying exorbitant prices for counterfeit things.

 

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It is impossible to imagine a business model as simple and risk-free like that of Limkokwing.

Firstly, its income is guaranteed and paid upfront by the government. Secondly, it can ship out the money to Malaysia without many questions from the powers-that-be.

Thirdly, it has no need to invest much in infrastructure because the government of Lesotho, in its hurry to be seen as progressive, gave it offices for which they pay pittances for rentals.

Fourthly, nobody in government can test the quality of the degrees Limkokwing is offering and it’s not under any obligation to prove that it’s not a degree mill.

And lastly, the government which is the main funder of the students seems to have sworn that it will continue to bankroll the college, come what may.

Limkokwing is probably the only company that does not need to prove that its products are up to standard.

 

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To lose the government’s goodwill Limkokwing will have to do something as “hideous” as teaching its students to topple the government.

For as long as the university offers  craft degree courses the government does not mind picking up the tab.

For as long as the university offers degrees that are not recognised by any serious university in the world the government of Lesotho will remain silent.

It would seem that under the agreement the government swore to shut up and let Limkokwing make its money.

Otherwise how else can we explain why the government stands akimbo while Limkokwing engages in monkeyshines with the taxpayers’ money?

Why is it that in a year when the government said it is broke and cut funding to other students Limkokwing’s enrollment numbers continued to gallop like a race horse?

How else can we explain the government’s deafening silence in a year when a university it bankrolls has stumbled from crisis after crisis?

 

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Limkokwing is not a victim of circumstances. No. It has been hoist with its own petard.

It is another thing to sweet-talk a government into bankrolling your university and quite another to convince the market that your degrees are worth what you claim them to be.

You can get a government to see and hear no evil but not the market.

At the end of the day a university will not be judged by how well it can worm into the hearts of the political leader but by the quality of its products and research output.

When it comes to the business of universities no amount of branding will hoodwink the market.

Limkokwing can drape its rented buildings in colourful banners with jolly students pretending to be learning something from a computer but the market will remain aloof for as long as it does not show that its degrees are real degrees.

The good “Dr” can write about innovation, accumulate zillions of honorary doctorates, claim to be the “father of innovation”, dazzle the government with his charm and thank some of them with high-sounding titles but that won’t
answer the grave questions people have about his institution and products.

A university’s foundation must be based on education and research and not branding.

What they are doing at Limkokwing is putting lipstick on a frog.

How can Limkokwing Lesotho call itself a world-class university of technology when its research output is zilch?

Limkokwing Lesotho does not even have the legitimacy to claim to be better than Peka High School. That university should be called Limkokwing University of Cash and Tosh (LUCT).

 

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Finally, Scrutator is aware that some overzealous and misdirected managers at Limkokwing have been nudging the university owners to sue her for saying true things about that Malaysian outpost in Lesotho.

Scrutator would like to state, without any fear, that she is not intimidated by such scare tactics.

In fact she has been itching for a chance to embarrass some people in court.

This Mediocrity Award is yours for keeps.

I am writing this from Qacha’s Nek while enjoying my mother’s lepu and when I come down to Maseru I better find those summons on my desk.

Ache!

 

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Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa. Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

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