King Letsie III laments NUL’s financial challenges

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

HIS Majesty King Letsie III, has said the harsh economic climate the country is facing has restricted the government’s ability to fully meet the financial needs of the National University of Lesotho (NUL).

He was speaking at the second Annual General Meeting of the 13th Council of the NUL which was held at the university on Tuesday.

His Majesty, who is also the Chancellor of the university said, while the council appreciates the institution’s attempt to grow and broaden its academic courses to better respond to the economic, political and social needs of the country, they were also mindful of the harsh economic situation prevailing in the country.

“The regrettable consequence is that the university is now unable to provide the required education and academic facilities that are needed in the modern age,” he said.

He said the declining financial support has seen the university losing its capacity to attract and retain qualified and experienced staff as the remuneration packages were fast becoming less competitive as compared to those in the region.

He however, said he was encouraged by the university’s innovation to broaden its income streams by venturing income generation projects with the private sector.

For his part, the NUL chairman of council, Tseko Bohloa, said the 13th Council had focused its energies on supporting initiatives that are directed at creating conditions necessary for learning by deepening capacity across all structures.

He said the council was mindful of the often conflicting objectives that the university has to grapple with in ensuring competitiveness of its educational programmes and their affordability to the variety of stakeholders.

Mr Bohloa said in the balancing act, council has mandated the Vice Chancellor to spearhead a series of consultations, taking into consideration that the institution was a largely state funded and that key government departments needed to urgently address the financial imbalance at hand.

The imbalance, Mr Bohloa said, has manifested in the 71% budget that goes to staff costs leaving the remaining small portion to finance the operational activities.

“Funding for higher education is definitely a topical issue that must be placed at the centre when it comes to the reform process that the nation will soon be embarking on,” Mr Bohloa said.

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