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Issues for Consideration by BQA when accrediting ICT Programmes

Boitshepo Bolele

Social Media posts, including from senior political figures, are carrying very encouraging news, that our lobby for reduction of BQA Accreditation Fees has borne fruit. These fees were exorbitant, and if left unchecked, they were going to force Batswana out of the training industry.

In addition, they risked creating a “black “market… already the market is rife with unaccredited institutes who masquerading as Tutoring Centres, whilst they are in effect providing training services.  In fact these “tutoring”cum training institutes rake in more money than regulated accredited centres.


What was worrisome was the fact that these exorbitant fees were hard hitting on small operators, on small institutes who make a living providing 2 – 5 days short courses. These are institutes who have always been compliant and there was never really any reason to run them under a bus. The real issues that need attention are with private colleges and institutions who benefit from the Tertiary Education Financing.

 

This is where the BQA should tighten issues. These institutes are making more money than the public universities put together. They made millions from the legendary Target20 000. They have all the money in the world to finance compliance and they should not be left off the hook.

Uniqueness of ICT Courses


As government revises the fees, I humbly request for the total overhaul of the ICT Accreditation Process. The new regulations have extended accreditation from 3 years to 10 years. Whereas ICT courses, by the very innovative nature of the sector, are always changing. No ICT programme can remain valid for 10 years.

Moreover, ICT certifications are basically modules. E.g  Under the CISCO Family of programmes, there is, for example,  HYPERLINK "http://www.destinyvillageinstitute.com/course/cisco-300-115-switch-implementing-cisco-ip-switched-networks" Cisco 300-115 – SWITCH – Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks, then there is  "http://www.destinyvillageinstitute.com/course/cisco-300-135-tshoot-troubleshooting-and-maintaining-cisco-ip-networks" CISCO 300-135 – TSHOOT – Troubleshooting And Maintaining Cisco IP Networks and many others.

Whilst these are standalone courses, they are also clubbed under CCNA;  Microsoft also has similar issues, it has MCSE, MCSA and within these programmes are also independent certifiable modules. And at any time some of the modules within a composite course can be withdrawn or altered. It cannot then be such that these certifiable modules should be registered as independent courses, but rather as modules within CISCO or modules within MICROSOFT Professional or just register ORACLE and everything that is a certifiable module within ORACLE is just that – a module. ICT is unique in the sense that its certifications have an exam for each and every tiny module. And these modules are refreshed with each invention and innovation.


I have noted with a lot of interest that ICT certifications feature top on the list of TOP OCCUPATIONS IN HIGH DEMAND, as recently published by HRDC:-


Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Security+
Prince2
Project Management Institute (PMI)
Just Another Virtual Accelerator (Java)
Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
Robotics
Network Enabled Technology (NET)
Microsoft Linux
Unix
ORACLE
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
Structured Query Language (SQL)
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
CompTIA Server+
Computer Information Systems Company (CISCO)
Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Professional Courses
Microsoft Professional
International Computer Driving License (ICDL)

Botswana is truly going digital; Now more than ever, an ICT degree is no longer enough – it has to be coupled with certifications. Degrees Can Get Dusty, Certifications Stay Current. Certifications, endorse current skills. IT professionals have to keep their certifications up-to-date with continuing education; It goes without saying that the ICT community is always churning out new certifications to support new innovations.

BQA has to align their accreditation process with this reality. ICT courses cannot be accredited for 10 years. The ICT accreditation process should take into account the ever changing nature of the sector.

 

Recognition of Tutoring Centres


Tutoring is a form of education and worth recognising under BQA oversight. Issues here include, the safety of learners. Some rogues tutor private learners in private residential  houses – how safe is the girl child in such environments. There should be guidelines for these and the Tutors should register with BQA so that their certifications are vetted.


Opportunities for Graduate Youth


 Notwithstanding the grey issues within this Tutoring Sector, this is one area where graduate interns can make a living – offering Tutoring services. They can negotiate with Ministry of Youth and run tutoring centres within Youth Centres and where possible they can use Church Facilities. Yes, Church facilities. Except for the Roman Catholic Church, most church facilities are used only 2 days in a week and approximately 96days in a year. Whereas these are community centres which should deliver value to communities in moulding a compete person.


The Association of Business Executives (www.abeuk.com), has attracted a lot of interest from Youth Cooperatives and Youth Business Consortiums, comprising graduate interns – who have positioned themselves to offer short courses such as Digital Marketing, Money Management, Business Start-up and Entrepreneurship. The experience they pick from their internship has equipped them with the necessary experience to provide both tutoring services and as accredited providers for short courses.


Join me on Facebook (eLearning Botswana) for more information on ICT Certifications, Opportunities for Interns in provision of tutoring services, Assistance with BQA accreditation. Or contact me on 3980347 or 74643211 or – You can also visit me at UNIT47, THE OFFICE, Fairgrounds Office Block, Gaborone Botswana.

 

Email admin@elearningbw.com

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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