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BQA new framework targets bogus institutions, lecturers

Publishing Date : 05 December, 2016


Despite growing non-compliance incidents in learning institutions, Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) is doing its best to ensure that tertiary institutions in both the public and private sector comply with set regulations, BQA Acting Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Thekiso, revealed this week.

This week, Thekiso told Weekend Post that there is an impression that BQA is not accrediting qualified personnel to teach in tertiary institutions, a development which he said is mainly caused by lack of understanding of the process of accreditation undertaken by BQA.

In the wake of recurring incidences of fake qualifications held by various lecturers in tertiary institutions, the latest being at Botho University, where at least two lecturers were exposed and fired for possessing bogus Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualifications, BQA has conceded to having had previously accredited the two fired lectures, who are foreign nationals but insist the two lecturers were not accredited to teach to the level of Master’s Degree.

“Our procedure is that, whenever an accredited institution wants to introduce a new programme, they have to apply for accreditation of the programme, and have to satisfy the requirements, such having qualified personnel to do so,” said Thekiso .

“Botho College, which has now attained university status had expressed its desire to introduce a new Master Degree programme, and upon submission of their personnel who will teach the programme, it came to our attention that their qualifications were suspicious, leading to rejection for accreditation.”

Thekiso further informed this publication that BQA then alerted the university on their suspicion leading to the university taking a decision to expel the duo.

He also contended that BQA has a clear policy and rules which affirm teaching personnel should always have higher qualification, than those they are teaching. In his words, “a student pursuing Diploma can only be taught by a lecturer with a Bachelor’s Degree or better. Same applies on other levels.”

According to Thekiso, lecturers are accredited on specific request, and the accreditation is only limited to the area for which the applicant applied for hence,  if the applicant want to teach a new programme, he/she should make a new request to be accredited for it.

However, there have been reports of many tertiary institutions, especially in the private sector violating this provision. Thekiso has affirmed that BQA is doing its best, to uproot those with such qualifications. 

Under the old Tertiary Education Council (TEC) system, the BQA had scheduled and unscheduled check up in order to monitor if the institutions are complying or not. Since the transformation, both public and private institutions are subject to accreditation, unlike in the previous system where the public schools were exempted. 

Thekiso also expressed optimism that the new legal frame work, which will come into effect soon, will have severe penalties for non-compliance to both institutions and individuals. This process, according to Thekiso, will act as deterrence of incidents of non-compliance.

He concurred that the current legal frame work maybe too lenient on the offenders hence the introduction of new frame work.

“The new system has also raised fees required to establish a new institution, so that we only attract serious individuals,” he said.

The BQA boss also noted that, the authority also has a clear policy that, for foreign nationals, they only recognise qualifications, which are also recognised by the country of origin. Recently, BQA moved swiftly to revoke accreditation of Institute of Commercial Management (ICM) programmes after the United Kingdom stopped recognising the programmes for non-compliance.   

BQA which came into being following the transformation of the TEC and Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), is still using the provisions of the now defunct institutions for accreditation of both certificate, diploma and degree qualifications in institutions.

The authority has since suspended the old TEC and BOTA system for accreditation of institutions, until the new frame work is adopted.



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