The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) Theophilus Mooko says the Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) will be a university mid next year. Mooko said this yesterday while launching BOCODOL’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan themed ‘Embracing the Transformation’.
Government in 2012 had announced that the distance learning college would transform into the Botswana Open University (BOU). However, the enabling law, governing the establishment of universities and colleges, was never produced reportedly due to resistance from some institutions.
“We have since decided to review the act that established BOU as a college and draft a bill establishing it as a university. It will, however, not reach Parliament during the current session.
“We believe BOCODOL will be a university this time next year,” said Mooko. Mooko challenged BOCODOL to establish strategic partnerships with stakeholders such as the Botswana Qualifications Authority, Human Resource Development Council and Botswana Examinations Council amongst others, to ensure that it achieves the objectives set out in its strategic plan.
The permanent secretary also urged other educational institutions, especially those funded from the public purse, to collaborate with BOCODOL to enable it to reach out to more people with open learning programmes, instead of coming up with competing curricula. He said this would reduce costs and increase efficiency as BOCODOL is already well established in open education.
For his part, BOCODOL executive director, Daniel Tau said even though the institution was not yet a university, it could not “just sit back” and fail to develop a strategy to improve its effectiveness. “We have played a fundamental role in democratising the education sector in the country even with resource constraints and we therefore appeal to stakeholders to assist with resources that will help us achieve what we want,” he said.
The strategic priorities as identified in the plan, include leveraging technology, diversifying programmes, improving the quality of products and services, improving results for open schooling, infrastructure development, reducing dependency on government, increasing enrolment numbers and improving implementation capacity amongst others.