Following the recent protest by Gaborone University College of Law (GUC) over non-recognition of their programmes of learning by the Engineers Registration Board (ERB), the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Douglas Letsholathebe has said they will resolve the impasse.
Completing Bachelor of Technology in Construction Engineering students at the Institution’s Mmopane Campus last week embarked on a demonstration stating that the non-recognition of the course by ERB means that they would end up in the streets as the Board recognition is their only way to practising.
“We have been waiting for too long for the resolution of the matter and all the involved parties have not been giving satisfactory answers. We are about to complete our studies and our time here cannot go to waste,” one student said.
Letsholathebe has since called for calm from students stating that his ministry through the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) will do all in their power to engage the parties involved.
“The BQA as the accrediting body is currently engaging with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the students will be employable. That does not only mean convincing ERB to recognise the said courses. It is also important that the students are ready for the industry,’ he said.
Letsholathebe added that even though the courses were accredited, ERB also has its own standards, which they would make sure that learning institutions will, going forward, only enrol students approved by relevant bodies.
He said the involved parties would meet soon to resolve the current impasse. Despite the current issue, BQA has a Memorandum of Understanding with ERB to ensure that the learning programme meets the sector standards and requirements. This is, however, not proven enough thus far. New Era College students have also in the past had issues with having the Board accredit their courses. ERB was established by an Act of Parliament with the primary objective of ensuring engineering work in Botswana is done for the public good.
“The intention is to ensure that as engineering practitioners carry out their duties, they do so in a manner that does not endanger or jeopardise the public’s health, safety, funds, interest or anything else impacted,” reads the ERB website.