FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Examination Council (BEC) Executive secretary, Brian Mokopakgosi said the Botswana Human Resource Development Skills Fair and Career Clinics (BHRDS) are vital in helping potential tertiary students to make right career choices.
He was giving a keynote address during the official opening of the fair, which was held under a theme ‘Career Guidance, Gateway towards Diversifying Botswana’s Economy’.
Mokopakgosi said the event was arranged to facilitate informed career choices and accord the learners opportunity for on-the-spot application if they so wished.
He said that it was an undisputable fact that career guidance should be instituted during formative years for any child, calling upon the learners to go through all the necessary steps to get guidance.
“Get the information, reflect on it, internalise it and consult the career guidance professionals that are here, as well as your parents. I urge you to seize this opportunity with both hands and get it right from the start because the career choices you make today will define who you are throughout your entire life,” he said.
He said that the fair and the clinics should become a common phenomenon if they were to transform the education and training system to meet the demands of both national and international labour markets, as well as address the issues of employability.
Mokopakgosi said that with employable, creative, innovative and globally competitive graduates, the country stood an excellent chance of transforming the economy from a resource to a knowledge-based one.
He further said that it was a known fact that the government intends to improve career services as part of a broad strategy to enhance the employability of graduates and the responsiveness of education and training institutions to the needs of the economy.
The BEC boss noted that career clinics and skills fair are one important strategy that can help identify skills and career critical for Botswana’s transformational agenda. He said the country’s vision 2036 articulated to some extent in the National Development Plan 11, envisages transformation from a middle income to a high-income economy.
Mokopakgosi added that education and training institutions have a major role to play in developing the needed skills for the transformation agenda. He said it is only with necessary skills that the country can address employment creation and reduce or eliminate poverty.
The assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology, Fidelis Molao urged prospective tertiary students to make the right decision on which career to pursue.
He explained that to find the right career, a person should choose the one that suits their
“While you should also consider earnings, job outlook and duties, nothing contributes more to job satisfaction than matching your occupation to your character traits and motivations. Investing time and training for a career only to find out there are limited opportunities when you are ready to enter your field of choice can be a waste of time and effort”, he said.
The assistant minister explained that in October 2016, they were given a mandate to move Botswana from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one.
He said this is a task that requires all the stakeholders to change the design and delivery of their educational programmes both in public institutions and private providers.
He said the programmes must be robust and conform to the needs of the economy and current trends, hence the HRDC was an important component of the ministry.
Molao stated that HRDC plays an important role, which is designed to groom and produce human capital. He said HRDC should produce human capital, which is needed to transform the economy of Botswana in line with moving Botswana to a knowledge-based economy.
HRDC chief executive officer (CEO) Raphael Dingalo said they were happy to extend their services to the second city, as it is in line with the government’s commitment of taking the services to the people.
Dingalo was pleased with the attendance of students and the community at large, stating that while last year they were able to attracted about 3, 858, more people came to the fair this year.
He revealed that the fair was also important in terms of contributing towards the growth of the city as they have also brought other stakeholders across the country.
He called on the prospective students to be innovative in order to employ others in the future.
Dingalo further explained that it was important to guide the students on what the economy will require of them.
“Institutions should also play a part in guiding these prospective learners. It should not only be about them coming to your institutions but it must be about them choosing that which will be beneficial to them and the economy in the long run,” he said.