The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) will soon impose fees on some of the services they offer to education and training providers (ETPs) as part of new reforms in education and training. “BQA has gazetted schedule of fees for some of its services. Stakeholders were consulted during the drafting of the fees and it is worth noting that these have been benchmarked and that services are offered on a cost sharing basis,” said BQA Chief Executive Officer Abel Modungwa. Speaking during a press briefing to sensitise the media on the new BQA regulations and discuss the transition guide on Tuesday in Gaborone, Modungwa said though BQA had prior to adopting the scheduled fees benchmarked in several countries in Africa and overseas, BQA fees are highly subsidised compared to other regulatory bodies in the region that coordinate a National Qualifications framework based education and training system. BQA Business Development Director, Dr Andrew Molwane, shared the CEO’sentiments that while the current charges maybe a migration from what the authority use to charge, the amount required was in fact affordable and will not bring any convenience to the ETPs. According to Molwane, BQA has conducted and results have shown that most ETPs will be able to pay the charges without any trouble. “The money may seem like a lot but remember it covers a period of 10 years before another review can be done,” said Modungwa. In the new schedule of fees, ETPs will be required to pay fees to be registered and accredited as education and training providers which will be renewable after 10 years.
ETPs specialising in child education will be for example pay P10 000 to get registered and accredited while those providing primary and secondary education will be required to pay P20 000 and P30 000 respectively. Tertiary institutions will however be charged as per the number of students they enroll; those with an enrollment of up to 100 learners will have to part with P20 0000, those with 101 – 500 learners will pay P30 000 and those with more than 500 learners will pay P40 000. ETPs will also be charged audit fees for education and training providers which will range from P8000 to P30 000 depending on the type of institution. Other fees include registration and accreditation of additional sites, accreditation of learning programs to mention but a few. “Though we expect to collect at least P30 000 000 in fees from ETPs annually it cost BQA P110 000 000 to execute its mandate including offering services to the ETPs annually,” Molwane said. BQA has been established to assure quality education and training from early childhood to higher education; that is across the three levels of General Education, Technical and Vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education. This, according to the BQA CEO, is meant to ensure a common quality assurance platform that clearly set standards of teaching and learning for the entire education and training system. Modungwa said this will improve coordination of the system and address issues of NCQF and quality assurance. “Worth noting is that unlike in the previous regime, where public ETPs were only registered, BQA will register and accredit both public and private education and training providers,” said Modungwa.
He said the provision for maintenance of the National Credit and Qualifications Framework, introduce an outcome-based system in Botswana which will ensure clear definition of levels, qualifications and detail skills, knowledge and competencies, is expected at each level. This, he said, will in turn ensure defined articulation and progression and will result in the national qualifications being portable, internationally comparable and will facilitate seamless learner mobility.
“These reforms will improve the quality of education and training, facilitate dialogue between demand, which is industry, and supply, being education and training providers. The overall objective is to produce graduates that are job ready, can self-employ and are globally competitive,” said Modungwa. Modungwa said BQA has developed a transition guide and will conduct capacity building clinics across the country to ensure understanding of the regulations and transitional arrangements. A nationwide tour to address ETPS, professional bodies, unions and associations, students, Local Government officials, tribal authorities MPs and other authorities is also on the cards.