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Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) is a parastatal in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology established by the Botswana Qualifications Authority Act, No 24 of 2013, to:
- provide for and maintain the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF)
- coordinate the education, training and skills development quality assurance system, from early childhood to tertiary level (lifelong learning).
BQA took over quality assurance functions that were performed by the then Tertiary Education Council and Botswana Training Authority. Its Regulations were gazetted in 2016 and their implementation started in January 2017.
This document captures Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and provides generic answers. The questions are arranged by service / function areas. The frequently asked questions are updated quarterly to address emerging / new information needs. This FAQs address issues of quality assurance services as detailed below:
- Registration and accreditation of Education and Training Providers(ETPs) ,
- Registration and accreditation of Awarding Bodies(local)
- Recognition of Awarding Bodies (external origin)
- Registration and Accreditation of assessors and moderators
- Accreditation of learning programmes
- Recognition of Non-Credit Bearing Short Courses
- Monitoring and auditing of registered and accredited ETPs.
The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) is a parastatal established by the Botswana Qualifications Authority Act, No 24 of 2013, to:
provide for and maintain the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF)
coordinate the education, training and skills development quality assurance system, from early childhood to tertiary level (lifelong learning).
BQA is a regulatory body that oversees the training and education system in Botswana. BQA quality assures education, training and skills development across the three (3) systems of General Education (GE), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and Higher Education (HE). Quality assurance services include, amongst others:
- Registration and accreditation of Education and Training Providers (ETPs)
- Registration and accreditation of local awarding bodies and external one that are not accredited in their countries of origin
- Recognition of external awarding bodies which are accredited in their countries of origin
- Registration of qualifications on the NCQF
- Accreditation of NCQF learning programmes
- Registration and accreditation of assessors and moderators
- Monitoring and auditing of registered and accredited ETPs to ensure continued compliance to set Quality Assurance Standards
BQA is also mandated to coordinate the development and maintenance the National Credit and Qualifications Framework. A 10-level framework that details knowledge, skills, competencies, and minimum credit values at each level. Level 1 being Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) or an equivalent TVET qualification, level 10 is PhD. BQA registers qualifications on the Framework and evaluates both local and international qualifications against the Framework.
The registration and accreditation process involve validation to establish compliance to a set of Quality Assurance Standards (QAS). BQA has developed QAS for the different categories of ETPs. Please see: Quality Assurance Standard for Higher Education Providers, for example.
Trainers/ lecturers/ teachers/ are assessed for suitability to train when the Authority evaluates applications for accreditation of learning programmes under key resources.ETPs are required to include in the application for learning programme accreditation, Evaluation of Qualifications Reports for teacher/trainer (s), which would have been evaluated by the Authority. At this stage BQA verifies the teacher’s suitability to teach the programme at its level.
In terms of the BQA Act and its Regulations, not forgoing the savings and transitional arrangements, all ETPs(public or private) are registered and accredited with the Authority. Furthermore, no learning programme can be offered until it has been accredited. The regulations cover all schools, including workplaces, consultancies, Non-Governmental Organizations that provide education and training at all levels.
This is an improvement from the old system under which learning programmes from private ETPs were subjected to a two-stage quality assurance process of programme review and approval, and accreditation. The old system allowed approved, provisionally accredited, and fully accredited programmers to be run.
The other improvement is that both public and private ETPs will register and accredit with BQA. The introduction of NCQF will ensure seamless articulation and progression across levels. It also promotes international competitiveness.
ETPs are required to submit annual reports to BQA for monitoring purposes. In addition, the Authority conducts scheduled audits at least once in the accreditation cycle of a registered and accredited provider. BQA also reserves the right to conduct unscheduled audits (spot checks) at any ETP when prompted by different factors such as complaints, poor results, media articles,. to check compliance to set quality assurance standards. An ETP that is found to be non-compliant may:
- be given time to correct the non- compliance,
- have its registration and accreditation suspended
- have its accreditation revoked in part or wholly
In the case of suspension or revocation of an ETP’s registration and accreditation, arrangements are made to protect enrolled learners.
Trainers/ teachers leaving an ETP is a significant change that must be reported to BQA. ETPs should notify BQA as soon as there are changes in staffing and submit credentials of the new teacher(s). The Authority will then assess the suitability of the new trainer / teacher to offer the affected learning programme.
Learners are advised to follow the laid down complaints handling procedure to raise their concerns/ complaints. This includes engaging the class representatives and the Student Representative Council which should in turn engage the ETP management. If the complaint is not resolved internally, learners should raise it with BQA. The Authority will investigate and act, as appropriate, if the allegations are found to be true. Learners may visit the BQA One Spot Customer Service Centre to raise the complaint or email a signed complaint letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A learning programme is denied accreditation because it has failed to meet accreditation requirements. ETPs are not allowed to enroll learners in learning programmes that are not accredited.
This status is given after the validation process has identified no gaps in the ETP and the learning programme. The programme can be offered and will be subjected to normal monitoring and scheduled audits by BQA. Learning programmes are reviewed every five (5) years to align to industry needs.