Tertiary education transition ongoing

SHARE   |   Thursday, 16 May 2019   |   By Baitshepi Sekgweng
BQA Communications and PR Manager Selwana Pilatwe-Koppenhaver BQA Communications and PR Manager Selwana Pilatwe-Koppenhaver

Botswana Qualifications Authority’s (BQA) transition from the old tertiary education   accreditation framework to the new systems is currently progressing well following the successful completion of the phase one of the development. BQA was established in 2012  taking over from the Botswana Training  Authority  with  the sole  mandate of   improving  quality of education and training locally as well  dealing  with National Credit and Qualifications Framework. BQA started implementing   the regulation in January 2017.

The transition is   divided into three phases with the  first phase being Education and  Training Provider (ETPs)registration and accreditation which  just  completed in December 2018.Qualification registration is currently  in full swing  and is  expected to  end  in December 2019 while the last phase which is  Learning Programme accreditation is set  to  conclude in December  2020.

With the phase one of the transitions already down, 28 tertiary institutions have been registered and accredited as Education and Training Providers. From this list 16 are private institutions while 12 are public institutions. Three private tertiary schools and nine public schools are in the process of registering and accrediting while only one institution has not yet applied for the process to be accredited as an ETP.

According to BQA Communications and PR Manager Selwana Pilatwe-Koppenhaver the transition of the sub-framework is going on well considering that most institutions have meet the transition plan or deadlines. “There were 45 ETPs under Higher Education which needed to be transited to the current status.  One higher education provider has not yet applied for registration and accreditation and one has been rejected. In this case these providers are not allowed to enrol new learners and are monitored to teach enrolled learners until they complete their courses of study and graduate with recognized qualifications. The three institutions that were discontinued:  two had no enrolled learners and were de – registered by the owner and the other moved to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sub-framework (will offer courses up to certificate level and not higher),said Koppenhaver.

According to Koppenhaver the last two phases have already commenced and there is positive progress as the Authority has currently registered 21 qualifications on the National Credit and Qualifications Framework while Accreditation (NCQF) of learning programme has since started because there are qualifications on the NCQF which are valid for offer. “Registered qualifications became national qualification and can be used by all providers to develop learning programmes for accreditation. The Authority has developed strategies, in consultation with stakeholders to fast track this process. One such being establishment of Cooperative Development of Qualifications. In this approach submitted qualifications of the same domain will be grouped and developers will work together to merge insignificant differences and submit one jointly developed qualification for registration. This will ensure water tight industry relevant qualifications. It will also minimize processing of duplicate qualifications and promote development of diverse ones,”she said.

In the past years local tertiary institutions have been bedeviled by problems of unaccredited courses, something which forced students to revolt and embark in strikes and demonstrations. The latest  being the 2016 Botho  University  strike in which  students complained of  unaccredited courses as  well poor equipments. However this  new  system  by BQA has  been  seen as  welcome development  since it has quelled  issues of unaccredited  courses   and  suppressed the emergence of fly by night tertiary schools which are normally not  well registered but  just set up to gobble funds from government sponsored students.