Even though Botho University has been informed not to enroll new students under deferred accreditation courses, the courses will still appear on the University’s list as available to prospective students, Mmegi has established.
Deferred accreditation courses are given to programmes that had not met most of the minimum requirements and the identified gaps could not be closed within a year. In that instance, institutions are not allowed to enroll new learners into the deferred programme and must "teach out" the students.
"Teach out" ensures that all existing enrolled students can either complete the course of study or transition to a mutually agreed course at no disadvantage to the student.
In a letter from Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) to the University’s Vice-Chancellor on December 14, 2016 , it stated that BQA Board, after careful consideration of the shortcomings that were identified in some courses, it deferred their accreditation.
The deferred courses are Professional Diploma in Jewellery Management and Design, Diploma in Jewellery Management and Design, BSc (Hons) in Multimedia, Professional Diploma in Multimedia and Master of Education in Higher Education.
On the other hand, BSc (Hons) in Jewellery Management and Design was awarded provisional accreditation.
“Please note that no new students should be enrolled into programmes under deferred accreditation. You are given a maximum of six months for the one under provisional accreditation to close the gaps that were identified after which you will need to apply for re-assessment for accreditation,” it stated.
It further noted that failure to submit corrective action taken, or failure to close all the gaps identified, would result in deferral or rejection of accreditation.
Regarding deferred programmes, BQA noted that they required that the parity approach between Diploma, Professional Diploma and Degree modules in terms of curriculum development, pedagogy of teaching, delivery, students’ assessment and skill development be reviewed. It also highlighted that the degree modules must reflect a significantly higher skill development drive than diploma modules.
“Review programme structure to increase jewellery design modules to about 50% to meet the currently expressed need of the students who aspire to obtain the qualification. This will bring the programme structure close to what you find with the College of Cape Town, South Africa and Cape Peninsula University of Technology, SA programmes
The letter went on stating that the Business Research Methods (B8-BRM) module should be a core module, and not one of the electives so that every candidate was exposed to research methodologies before embarking on project work (B8-PRO) and professional practice (B7-PPR).
It also noted that the module project, B8-PRO, should be done before B7-PPR to give the candidate ample time to acquire all the design and management skills he/she needs before venturing into the real world.
Furthermore, BQA advised the management to recruit one full time teaching member of staff to meet the minimum requirement of six staff members per department. It also advised the University to provide for a design studio to support the conceptualisation phase of the jewellery design process during projects. BQA also recommended a revised student allowance for students on that programme to enable them to acquire the expensive technical special equipment required for the hands-on experience.
“Avoid having diploma, professional diploma and degree students in one class even when the subject matter being taught is the same to promote effective delivery of the module.
Assist the current professional diploma students to extend their sponsorship contract to enable them to obtain the BSc (Hons) degree. Left on their own they may not get the extension of the contract,” it ended.
Meanwhile, in their recent press conference, Botho University told the media that they submitted their 59 courses to the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) and assured students and the public that they had nothing to worry about.
It pointed out that accreditation was thus an elaborate process that takes time to complete. The University management further explained all of their courses were approved and none of them was rejected. They said they were awaiting accreditation that would be done in six months.
“None of our programmes have been rejected at accreditation. Our programmes are either accredited or awaiting accreditation. BQA have officially communicated to our students that all Botho programmes are compliant and that their degrees are recognised,” they explained.