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BQA new framework targets bogus institutions, lecturers

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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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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