Botswana Qualifications Authority enters bold new era

BQA Acting CEO Mr Abel ModungwaBotswana Qualification Authority Acting CEO Mr Abel Modungwa

The National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) is embarking on a rationalization strategy to eliminate overlapping mandates and duplication of services between the Tertiary Education Council (TEC) and the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA).

During the transition a holistic and integrated institutional framework comprising two new statutory bodies, the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) will be established.

The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) was put in place through the enactment of the Botswana Qualifications Authority Act No 24 of 2013. The BQA commenced operations on the 8th November 2013 following an Order issued by the Minister of Education and Skills Development to effect the Act.

The coming into effect of the BQA Act, 2013 means that the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) have been, effective 8th November 2013, continued under the new names of the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA).

"The strategy developed to effectively use human resources in Botswana was not good. There was a lot of fragmentation," revealed Abel Modungwa, acting Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Botswana Qualification Authority(BQA). He said, "There is now much more value because we are better organized."

The Botswana Qualifications Authority(BQA) is being transformed at a time when Botswana is developing a single approach to human resource development. It means that Botswana has 3 projects namely Botswana Examinations Council(BEC), Tertiary Education Council(TEC) and Botswana Qualifications Authority(BQA) all driving 1 unified and coherent human resources programme.

"We needed to address issues of demand, supply and assessment," reasoned Modungwa. The transformed BQA will provide for and maintain the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF) and coordinate the education, training and skills development quality assurance system.

This will entail amongst others:

  • Developing, implementing and maintaining an overarching National Credit and Qualifications Framework for all qualifications, from early childhood to tertiary level,
  • Maintaining of a national database of qualifications
  • Setting of learning and teaching standards for education and training providers,
  • Designing qualifications and curricula for general education and tertiary education , including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education
  • Setting criteria for the development of national education and training quality and inspection standards.
  • Develop standards for the recognition of external qualifications
  • Developing and reviewing quality standards, and ensuring compliance through a monitoring and evaluation system.
  • Registering and validating qualifications and part qualifications , and ensuring their relevance to social and economic needs
  • Accreditation of learning programmes
  • Registration and accreditation of education and training providers , assessors, awarding bodies and moderators
  • Designing methods of validating the achievements of learners.
  • Recognising and validating competencies for purposes of certification.
  • Designing procedures and rules for the protection of enrolled learners.
  • Designing methods of validating achievements of learners.

Modungwa concedes that it will not be easy.
"The first problem is that we are driving change and that people resist change. The second challenge is trying to service our clients and transform using the same resources. We are overstretching ourselves," acknowledged Modungwa.

During the transition into the new system Sections 33 (1) of the BQA Act provides for transitional and savings arrangements. This means that Institutions, Trainers and Assessors accredited by the TEC and BOTA have been encouraged to retain their accreditation status and are advised to apply to BQA for renewal of accreditation 6 months prior the expiry of their current accreditation.

Accreditation of institutions offering Certificate level programmes will continue to be provided by BQA while HRDC will continue to process accreditation applications for those offering Diploma level programmes until March, 31, 2014.

Levy payers are also entitled to claim as was the case under the VTF requirements and Regulations. The claims will be processed at BQA.

"There is no need to panic. A consultant is on site to help with communications and change initiative. We hope Government will allow us to charge for our services. It has always been an issue. A reasonable fee will be charged. We may also have to augment our resources with consultancies," said Modungwa.

He said, "Schools need to be assessed and monitored. If we do our job well by 2022 the results will be there for all to see."

Modungwa maintained that the system being developed has been widely benchmarked and is consistent with international best practice.

"Jobs are often available to those who are unqualified and unavailable to those who are qualified. The issue of unemployment needs to be tied to planning. We need to look at what jobs are likely to be available over the next 20 years and reduce the number of graduates who will hit the streets without jobs. If we expect more mines we should train more artisans. We need to train people with skills that are required," said Modungwa.

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