Olopeng wants BQA workload reduced

BQA building
BQA building

Parliament this week heard that Botswana Qualifications Authority’s (BQA) mandate was overloaded.

Therefore, the minister for Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng suggested a need to reduce this load.

“In some jurisdictions, this mandate is undertaken by different institutions. There is, therefore an urgent need to revisit the mandate of the BQA for efficient implementation of the national credit and qualification framework,” Olopeng said.

Olopeng said BQA was expected to undertake registration of qualifications, evaluation of qualifications, Registration and Accreditation of Education and Training Providers (ETPs) for all subsystems (General Education; Technical and Vocational Education; and Higher Education), registration and accreditation of assessors and moderators.

He said the other challenge relates to misalignment between the BQA and those of professional bodies such as the Botswana Health Professionals Council (BHPC), Engineers Registration Board (ERB) and Architects Registration Council (ARC), which resulted in professional bodies not recognising some learning programmes accredited by BQA.

“There are instances where qualifications recognised by professional bodies were adjudged as not meeting BQA accreditation standards,” he said.

“This leads graduates being unable to register and hence not employable. BQA is currently engaging professional bodies with the view to harmonise processes. At system level, there is a need to review the relevant acts in order to do away with any contradictions.”

Olopeng said out of the 307 applications for registration and accreditation of ETPs received by BQA, 128 have been registered and accredited while the rest were at different stages of the registration and accreditation process.

He revealed that a total of nine applications for registration and accreditation of awarding bodies wer e received, of which six have been registered.

Olopeng said for accreditation of qualifications, a total of 644 applications were received as at March 2019.

“Out of that number, 501 applications have been checked and are being processed. Twenty one of these have been registered; one has been rejected while eight were withdrawn by the developers,” he said.

However, the minister said his Ministry has sponsored 13,490 new students in the financial year 2018/2019 compared to 11,998 for the year 2017/2018. Currently, the total number of students under government sponsorship is 35,777 which includes 522 students placed externally.

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