Vice President Slumber Tsogwane says he is aware of challenges afflicting vocational and technical education in Botswana.
Answering a question during the Leader of the House’s maiden Question Time, Tsogwane said the challenges are mainly associated with qualifications, which graduates who are either not accepted by industry, or instances of learners being enrolled in qualifications, which have not been accredited by the relevant regulatory authorities, yield.
“In some cases, the curricula may either be outdated, or it is inconsistent with current trends and future needs.
I am similarly aware that as a result of all these challenges, a number amongst the learners will experience delays in completing their courses on time, or with the required level of proficiency,” he said.
He also admitted that based on empirical evidence, some students in brigades and certificate offering technical colleges have, over time, exceeded institutional capacity.
He said in good faith, a lot of learners were enrolled at the beginning of 2019 with anticipation or expectation that resources would be raised elsewhere and timely allocated.
“This action was, in part, informed by a historical practice of rotating students, as a way of optimising limited resources,” he said.
“Proceeding along these lines, although understandable from the perspective of upskilling many youth in an environment of limited resources has now proven that a different approach ought to have been, or must now be pursued.”
He confirmed that general education and vocational training are undergoing transformation, which is
Tsogwane was responding to a question asked by Sefhare-Ramokgonani legislator, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang who wanted to know if the government was aware that there is serious crisis afflicting vocational and technical education and training in Botswana.
Gobotswang also wanted to know how the public vocational and technical institutions admit more students.
Motivating his questions the Gobotswang said currently these institutions are going through a crisis of monumental proportions and government does not seem to have a solution.
Teaching and learning is frequently disrupted, in part because of absence of instructors, he said.
Gobotswang said these have been replaced by bootcamps that are said to build the character of both students and lecturers.
The Member of Parliament added that the problem is compounded by politically motivated admissions that far exceeded the capacity of these institutions.
“According to the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development 13,468 learners were enrolled in the brigades and technical colleges compared to the recommended 7,200 enough for the capacity of accredited programmes,” Gobotswang said.
He added that efforts at transforming brigades to produce skilled artisans remain unfulfilled unless the crisis affecting technical training in public institutions is resolved urgently.
“The forth industrial revolution, knowledge based economy, development of human capital will not be attained through students who graduate from bootcamps,” he added.