The long anticipated transformation of the Botswana College of Open and Distance Learning (BOCODOL) into an open university, which was initially planned for 2016, is scheduled for take-off soon.
BOCODOL will transform into the Botswana Open University, according to a bill gazetted last week.
According to the recently published bill, to be presented in the July sitting of Parliament, the Botswana Open University’s primary function shall be the provision of quality tertiary, professional training through open schooling and the provision of in-service programmes to upgrade staff skills.
Its powers shall include formulating and carrying out the academic policy of the University, devising and regulating courses of instruction and study as well as fees’ determination, commissions, charges and other payments for services and the use of facilities of the university among others.
The university shall offer academic, professional, and vocational courses and the council may determine technical education as well. Moreover, it is mandated to offer programmes and courses in collaboration with other institutions or organisations nationally or internationally.
“The university shall use regional centres and other existing national facilities as venues for learning, tests, examinations and other meetings that may be required between the students and the university,” reads the bill.
The Botswana Open University will use the official
The university’s governing council shall consist of 15 members inter alia the Vice-Chancellor, a deputy Vice-Chancellor, three persons who are public officers appointed by the minister, four persons nominated by the chancellor – one of whom shall be representative of the civil society – and three shall be representatives of the private sector.
BOCODOL’s transformation was conceptualised in 2010, motivated by the college’s mandate to make education accessible to out-of-school youth and adults, especially those who are not absorbed by tertiary institutions and the employed.
The move is supported by Act No. 20 of 1998, which states that the college should offer academic, professional, vocational and technical education as may be determined by the board. However, for the college to offer these it has to have the status of a university, necessitating the transformation.
The BOCODOL Act has thereby been repealed, explains the bill.