University of Botswana

THE ORIGINS of the University of Botswana can be traced back to the break up of the jointly funded University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (UBLS) in 1975. The nationalisation of the Lesotho campus of UBLS caused some disruption for students from Botswana and Swaziland, but the establishment of the University of Botswana and Swaziland resolved the situation. Constituent colleges were set up in both countries, the Botswana college specialising in economics, social studies and science, while law was offered in Swaziland.

Co-operation between the two countries and their colleges remained high, with a free interchange of students and a common vision for tertiary education which at the time was seen as ‘playing an increasingly important role in national development’, not only by providing the necessary skilled manpower, but also by using the university as a focus for academic and cultural activities. At the same time, both colleges concentrated on developing their infrastructural and academic resources until, in 1982, separate universities were established for each country. After the split, co-operation remained high, with student exchanges and special consultative mechanisms established between the two institutions.

In 1990, a major review was undertaken of the organisation, management and structure of the University of Botswana. This led to major improvements in governance, and to the creation of new faculties of business, engineering and technology, and also to a school of graduate studies, bringing the total number of faculties to eight. The Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (originally established in 1994) attracts post-doctoral researchers from around the world, as well as offering postgraduate students from the University of Botswana excellent research facilities. In addition, the university boasts a library with 450 000 books, pamphlets and periodical and journal titles for use by its 25 000 registered users.

Facts and Figures at a Glance2

The University of Botswana offers both contact and distance education. In 2005-6, it had 15,710 students, with 12,602 studying full-time Most of the students (14,942) are national citizens with 136 students being from SADC countries and 632 students from other international, non-SADC countries.

Table 1: University of Botswana - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2005-6)


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree Other qualifications (short courses, certificates etc.)
Science, Engineering & Technology 2,778 2,580 0 167 35 198
Business, Management & Law 1,972 1,824 0 148 0  0
Humanities and Social Sciences 5,008 4,704 2 290 12  127
Health Sciences 346 335 0 11 0  0
Other (Education) 2,408 1,672 464 248 20  0
Other (Graduate School) 933 0 933 0 0  0
Other (Centre for Continuing Education) 2,265 2,265 0 0 0  0
TOTALS 15,710 13,380 1,339 864 67 325

 Source: University of Botswana questionnaire response

Table 2: University of Botswana: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2005-6)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 262
Business, Management & Law 66
Humanities and Social Sciences 216
Health Sciences 21
Other (Education) 140
Other 122

Source: University of Botswana questionnaire response


[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.