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Home » News » General » BQA consults stakeholders on the new education system

BQA consults stakeholders on the new education system

Publishing Date : 22 May, 2017

Author : TAPELA MORAPEDI

The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) is currently consulting stakeholders to solicit support in the implementation of its new mandate and to raise awareness on the new education and training system.

The consultations are also meant to clarify legal implications on the applicability of the new regulations on existing education and training providers. Addressing a consultative workshop with education providers in Selebi Phikwe on Thursday, BQA Chief Executive Officer, Abel Modungwa highlighted that the Authority is mandated to provide for and maintain a National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF) as well as coordinating the education and training quality assurance system for General Education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training up to higher education to ensure lifelong learning.


He said that BQA has come up with a new National Credit and Qualifications System to determine equivalence of qualifications so as to place them on appropriate levels comparable with the same in the region and abroad. Modungwa says the new system will indicate levels of complexity of learning as a learner progresses from pre-primary up to the highest level so to prepare learners for each next level of their education journey. He said the system will use level descriptors to guide the development of qualifications and learning programmes.


“The new NCQF is anchored on credit accumulation as ccredits are the building blocks of an education and training system,” he said. The CEO said the system was formulated to address challenges of the old system which he said was fragmented and poorly coordinated. He said local qualifications under the old system were not fully recognisable and portable and there are also problems of mismatch of skills and industry needs.


He explained that it was optional for institutions to apply for accreditation under the now repealed Tertiary Education Council (TEC) Act of 1999. TEC Act was repealed by the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) Act, 2013. He explained that the regulations of the repealed TEC Act continued in force and remained valid as per the transitional clause in Section38 (1) of the HRDC Act, 2013 that provides that “Any subsidiary legislation made under the repealed Act, and in force immediately prior to the coming into operation of this [HRDC] Act shall in so far as such legislation is consistent with the provisions of this Act, continue [to be] in force as if made under this Act”.


However, these regulations have expressly been repealed by Regulation 23 of the BQA Act that provides for Registration and Accreditation of Education and Training Providers, Modungwa has said. Explaining what will happens to existing Education and Training Providers (ETP’s) that were licensed under the old Regulations, Modungwa said that they are given 12 months to comply  but the licences issued under the repealed Regulations remain legally valid.


He also clarified the eligibility for accreditation of learning programmes. He explained that even though the provisions under the old system have been repealed, anything duly and lawfully done under the old Regulations prior to the gazettement of the new Regulations will remain legally valid. According to Section 33(1), Regulations made under the previous Act continue to be in force for as long as they are not inconsistent with the Act. This provision caters for transitional purposes.

 

ETPs have been afforded a grace period to comply or align their operations with the new regulations. A grace period has been put in place as a transitional measure.  Modungwa warned institutions that they have a legal obligation to comply, failure which they will face “the inevitable possibility of the revocation of their licenses.”  “The rights accrued or obligations incurred before repeal of the Regulations are enforceable, particularly during the transition period. It is hoped that the affected ETPs would have complied with the new requirements within 12 months,” he said.


After 12 months transitional period, all new applications will be subjected to the new Regulations. Section 4(2) Subsections (l) and (m) of the BQA Act  provides that the Authority shall register and accredit education and training providers, assessors, awarding bodies and moderators as well as accreditation of  learning programmes. The CEO pointed out that it is mandatory that the above functions be carried out by the Authority and it does not have a discretion in executing them, emphasizing further that all education and training providers must comply with the quality assurance system as determined by the Authority.


The repealed regulations under the old Act are the Registration of Private Tertiary Institutions Regulations, 2004, Registration of Operating Private and Public Tertiary Institutions Regulations, 2005 and the Accreditation of Private Tertiary Institutions Regulations, 2008.
He also stated that all applications in the Authority’s possession that were received before the publication of the new Regulations will be considered and finalised in terms of the old Regulations but this will be applicable only during the transitional period.

 

He also noted that the Authority together with ETPs will determine the variance between the old and the new Regulations for each ETP on a case by case basis. The Authority will also develop criteria and guidelines on how existing ETPs should comply during the transitional period. The BQA boss stressed that it is important that the new system is successfully implemented in order to ensure the portability of local qualifications and promote internal and external systems articulation.

 

He said all learning programmes will be accredited before learners are enrolled so as to ensure that there is common quality assurance platform. Under the new system, it is either an institution or programme is accredited or not, there will be no provisional arrangements. He said the new approach will improve coordination of education and training under one regulatory body and provide for learner protection through the involvement of Student Representative Council as an integral part of each institution’s governance structures.

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