The National University of Lesotho (NUL) Department of Physics and Electronics launched a series of short courses on sustainable energy in a glitzy occasion held on Thursday last week.
“The short courses, each one spanning a week in duration, are open to members of the public,” said Dr Moeketsi Mpholo from the Department as he introduced the proposal in the event held at NUL ISAS Auditorium.
“For each course, you will either receive a certificate of attendance or a certificate of competence, depending on your performance,” he said.
In fact the NUL lecturers can even bring the courses to your doorstep, fully tailor-made for your needs if that’s what you want.
The idea of short courses, cheered by clean energy enthusiasts from all walks of life, is funded by EU-ACP Southern African Sustainable Energy Initiative (SASEI) project.
After thinking through the implications of the project, the Minister of Energy and Meteorology, Hon Selibe Mochoboroane, who graced the event, made a remark that would chisel another plus on the wall that reflects the good image of the NUL, “You (NUL) are certainly living up to the expectation that our universities have to be primary drivers of innovation!”
Echoing a similar reflection, the NUL Vice Chancellor, Professor Nqosa Mahao, under whose leadership the NUL is turning into something of an innovation nucleus, was willing to share a secret or two, concerning NUL’s newfound spirit of extending the boundaries, “the essence of the NUL strategic plan is to ensure we are adequately relevant,” to the needs of the society.
The menu on this initiative is big, and the choice is wide! Participants will be free to pick any one or more of the courses, which range from such cool topics as Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Systems while providing a generous dose of the big three; Wind, Hydro and Bio Energy.
The courses even touch the terrain of policy and application and shed light into Engineering Design for Rural Areas and Energy Economics, Finance and Project Management, and Energy Policy, Regulation and Environment.
You can also choose to be schooled on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and Electrical Power Systems, the choice is all yours.
The initiative is neither operating in a vacuum, nor did is spring up from a hunch. “NUL is collaborating with Hochschule Darmstadt (H-DA) in Germany, University of Stellenbosch, Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), University of Botswana and Lerotholi Polytechnic, in the development of the courses,” said Dr Leboli Thamae from the same Department.
Those who get to attend the course will learn at the feet of some of the best lecturers from these good institutions.
Also, the initiative is a result of years of planning and consultation of with relevant stakeholders. “A number of consultative forums were held where people were asked to show what they would really want to learn,” Dr Mpholo showed. Then the courses were designed in accordance with what the people said they wanted.
Touching on the spirit at the centre of the courses, Dr Thamae showed, “the combination of the wide range of experts create an enviable link between theoretical concepts, applied knowledge, practical applications and transfer of direct relevant experience.”
Again, after appreciating the noble efforts of the brains behind the courses, Professor Mahao pointed to the future, “We need to move into the knowledge based economy.”
It is the kind of economy where economic growth is not a result of a lucky discovery of oil or diamond. Rather it is an economy where growth is a deliberate process driven chiefly by the thinking abilities of the native populace and its innovative spirit.
Of course, the Minister of Energy and Meteorology, Hon Mochoboroane, could not agree more. In his own words, he was more than happy to observe “first hand, the great strides that the university is making, not only in academic excellence, but in changing the lives of our people.”
The representative of the European Union, Mr. Theo Kaspers, who also attended the ceremony left a message of optimism and hope for Lesotho, “the country has an enormous potential to play an important role in the area of renewable energy in the region,” he said.
In the spirit of Deuteronomy Rabbah, who was once quoted thus, “In vain have you acquired knowledge, if you have not imparted it to others,’ the NUL trailblazers are doing just that, giving away rather than holding on to…Knowledge!
More information on the short courses is available online at physics.nul.ls