The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Dr Theophilus Mooko says his ministry has kept its promise of relocating the Botswana Accountancy College’s northern region faculty into the former Francistown College of Education premises. Addressing the Francistown City Council (FCC) last week Dr Mooko said: “We wish to share with this Honourable House that we have kept our promise. As, a result, the BAC relocated to those premises with effect from July 2017. Let me also indicate that we were here again in April 2017 during the Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) Festival, which was hosted by one of our institutions, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). The event was held at the same place,former FCE. The relocation of BAC to the former FCE facilities is already bearing results. Firstly, we have realised an increase in access to and participation in tertiary education. This has been realised through increased enrolments for the different BAC programmes. The number of students learning at Francistown Campus has increased from 136, which was housed at Barclays Plaza, to 276. This is an increase of 51%. This is just the beginning. The numbers will grow as the number of programmes being offered in Francistown also increases. Two additional Computing programmes have been introduced and are offered at the new campus.”
Moreover, he said, BOCODOL, as one of our parastatals in the Ministry, opened its Regional Office in Francistown in 2002 and has since witnessed vast developments with respect to programme offering and enrolments. There has been, he said, “an increase from 2 school equivalency programmes with an enrolment of less than 500 learners to 17 programmes, inclusive of 6 certificates, 3 diplomas and 6 undergraduate degrees offered to about 3200 learners. One of the key developments that we shall witness at the former FCE institution will be the joint offering of some programme by BOCODOL and BAC. We shall be leveraging on the strengths and expertise found in the two institutions. In addition, we will take advantage of the extensive experience in open and distance learning that BOCODOL has built over the years.” He said the two institutions provide the opportunity to develop and customize courses to train skilled labour for the regional sector gaps. “The Institutions are also available to collaborate with the City Council to facilitate development of required skills for localisation of major imports through the Economic Diversification Drive,” he said urging the city’s political leadership to make full utilisation of such an opportunity. In addition, he said, there are opportunities to nurture entrepreneurial know how amongst the local enterprises and youth to enable them to create employment through their innovative ideas and contribute to the revitalisation of the City. He further announced that BOCODOL will now be transformed into a Botswana Open University following the approval by Parliament in the July seating.