The brains behind GUC

Baitshepi Sekgweng
GUC GURU: Joseph

Although relatively content in his career as a secondary school teacher, in 2006 Dr Antoney Joseph saw an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands.

16 years after assuming control at Gaborone University College of Law and Professional Studies (GUC), Joseph has completely transformed the institution.

Having started life with 40 students, one campus and three lecturers, GUC’s empire now stretches across the country, with a footprint that includes seven campuses and a student population closing in on 3, 000.

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In this edition of Meet The Boss, Joseph gives Voice Money a behind-the-scenes lecture on exactly what makes GUC tick…

Briefly take us through your journey before you joined GUC?

Before buying GUC from its previous owners in year 2006, I was a teacher at Moshupa Senior Secondary School.

What do your daily duties as the institution’s Managing Director involve?

My main duty is to lead GUC towards the realization of its mission and vision.

This involves: engaging with key stakeholders, establishing the future direction of higher education in Botswana and beyond, ensuring all institutional operations are adequately resourced and monitoring the institutional development projects.

How is GUC doing in the education landscape?

GUC has been steadily growing from 2006 to date.

We have so far established seven campuses, (four in Gaborone, one in Francistown, one in Mmopane and another one in Maun).

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GUC has managed to transition over 90 percent of its programmes from the Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) legacy system to the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF).

Are there any plans to see GUC attaining full University status?

Yes, in fact we have already submitted the application for University Status to BQA; we are still waiting for their response.

What sets GUC apart from other institutions?

GUC offers unique programmes which address the labour market needs.

The programmes address skills needed in Law, Engineering, Education and Health sectors of the economy.

The programmes offered have flexible modes of study, being full time and part time studies all blended with online lessons.

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Further GUC have dedicated academic staff who are always available to assist learners.

With Government sponsorships declining over the years, how has GUC coped?

It is true government sponsorship has declined over the years and GUC has been affected like all other institutions.

However, we have a significant number of self-sponsored students in our campuses. These have sustained the institution over the years.

Looking back, what do you regard as your major highlight since entering the private tertiary education landscape?

Our major highlights dates back to 2008, when GUC held its first graduation ceremony, which was officiated by the late former President, Sir Ketumile Masire.

Our first batch of graduates saw 13 going into the market.

In 2010, GUC received the letter of approval to offer diploma and degree programmes from the then Tertiary Education Council (TEC), it was a major milestone!

In 2015 we then introduced first batch of degree programmes and in 2020 we enrolled the first cohort of students in the Bachelor of Laws LLB (Hons) degree awarded by Leeds Beckett University. The list is endless!

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How is the LLB programme doing?

The programme is doing very well, students are finding it challenging but interesting at the same time.

Enrolment has been growing yearly. GUC’s first cohort Law degree students was in August 2020, due to graduate with LLB (Hons) degree from Leeds Beckett University in 2023.

These are the graduates to be registered as legal practitioners.

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Sounds like there’s been a lot of highs – but what challenges do you face in your trade?

The key challenge is the long turnaround time from our Regulatory Authorities (BQA) with regard to registration of qualifications and accreditation of learning programmes. Also competition is intense in the industry.

You say competition is intense, so what difference has GUC brought in the local tertiary landscape?

We have improved access to those who wants tertiary education and taken tertiary education through our multiple campus approach and flexible modes of study.

In the past, GUC graduates have been the subject of ridicule on social media, how do you deal with this kind of bad publicity?

GUC has graduates who are in strategic positions in both the public and private sector.

So far we have produced a significant alumnus which has experienced its educational services.

These are the people who refer family members, work mates and colleagues to come and study with us.

We are aware that some members of society were less informed regarding our qualifications.

Until 2020, we have been offering diploma and certificates in law, for which such graduates cannot practice as lawyers.

Yet society may not be aware of that. Sometimes when see baseless negative social media coverage, instead of responding to such, we focus on educating the society on what we offer and how they can benefit from our programmes through our Public Relations Office.

GUC is one of the fast-growing private tertiary institutions, what’s the secret to your success?

It is because we have committed academic and non-academic staff who give their all to the job and cause of the institution.

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GUC management is always on the ground to resolve student issues on the spot without delays.

Is GUC involved in any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives?

Our CSR focuses on poverty alleviation programmes, supporting primary and secondary schools and supporting community development programmes.

Going forward, where will you like to see GUC improve?

GUC is working on improving the scope of its programme portfolio vertically to enable student articulation within the institution.

Any other exciting developments the country should look out for?

GUC is expanding strategic partnerships with international universities in order to increase the diversity and improve the quality of its programmes in line with the changing labour market needs.

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