Capacity constraints limit BQA, HRDC

Unity Dow, Minister of Education and Skills DevelopmentUnity Dow, Minister of Education and Skills Development

Ongoing efforts to transition to the outcome based learning system are meeting teething problems with participants at the stakeholder discussions Friday with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development asserting it is not practical for BQA moderately staffed to enforce compliance.

BQA has 100 staff based in Gaborone and is charged with ensuring compliance in 450 accredited institutions around the country. HRDC has also been accused of creating a complicated disbursement process limiting access by industry stakeholders to training levy.

"It is very clear that BQA is incapacitated because some institutions have been running for more than 5 years and have not been visited or audited. The worst scenario was an institution which had not been audited for 17 years. If it is not better equipped to provide oversight role it means quality assurance will be compromised," said Phineas Sebopelo, Director of Quality Assurance – BOCODOL.

He noted, "It also appears consultations are becoming a lobbying platform for private institutions to fight for more students from Government and not to address issues of quality assurance. Today's consultations should have separated public and private institutions because our issues are totally different," said Phineas Sebopelo, Director of Quality Assurance – BOCODOL.

These allegations have been disputed by BQA with officials saying that institutions need to be audited at least once in a 3-5 year accreditation cycle. Institutions are also audited for renewal of accreditation upon expiry of the 3-5 years validity period.

There are also unscheduled audits which are initiated after a complaint by a stakeholder against an institution.  BQA monitors and audits all accredited institutions timeously.

“It is not possible for an institution to run for 17 years without an audit by BQA. An institution has to be audited at least once every 3-5 years and it is also audited for renewal of accreditation after the 3-5 year accreditation period,” said Selwana Pilatwe-Koppenhaver, Stakeholder relations manager, Botswana Qualifications Authority(BQA).

The Botswana Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP 2015-2020) marks a significant milestone in efforts to bring about a more diversified, knowledge-based economy. Through a planned and careful development of human capital, the ETSSP seeks to refocus education and training towards fulfilment of social and economic aspirations identified in Botswana's Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE), the National Development Plan, Vision 2016 and as well as the Millennium Development Goals.

In particular, the ETSSP is also intended to strengthen the match between qualifications and labour market requirements, thereby ensuring education outputs are more closely aligned to future employment needs.

Each of the Strategic Priorities is addressed more specifically by a set of programmes targeting Early Childhood and Pre-Primary Education (ECE and PPE), Primary Education (PE), Secondary Education (SE), Teacher Education and Professional Development (TEPD), Tertiary Education (TE) as well as Technical Vocational and Education and Training (TVET).

The thematic programmes focus on system level reforms deemed necessary to support sub-sector programmes and implementation of the ETSSP set of policies and strategies with particular emphasis on Lifelong Learning (LLL), Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Curriculum Development, Human Resource Development (HRD) and Education Management and Information System reform


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