Botswana to regulate counseling profession
by Zeph Kajevu
When the Botswana Counseling Professions Act (BCPA) becomes law in 2013, it will regulate the practice of counseling and allied professions, says Dr. Jabulane Muchado, the Botswana Counseling Association (BCA) Organizing Committee member.
Dr Muchado says by October 2013, the proposed commencement of BCPA, its structures such as the Council and Committee, would protect and benefit Batswana by setting standards of qualification, education, training and provide experience for incumbents seeking to obtain a practicing counseling license and not only hold the title of professional counselor but also to practice professional counseling in Botswana. In a nutshell, the Act, among other virtues, protects the clientele from unprofessional conduct by unscrupulous counselors.
Speaking to Sunday Standard during the BCA 2nd International Counseling Conference held in Gaborone last week, Muchado said: “As the licensing authority, the BCPA Council holds the mandate to regulate the practice of counseling by licensing and certifying qualified counselors, adopting a code of ethics, establish fees and promulgating regulations for the professional counseling practice. The Council, among others, would approve the annual budget presented for adoption and submit an annual report to the relevant Minister.
“BCA started in 2005 from the humble beginnings of five members which have grown to over 400. Through the media, BCA had extended its consultancy to reach the student population and other stakeholders.”
He said the securing of office space had enabled contacts and consultations with clientele. Currently the focus is on the proposed establishment and development of the Act for onward presentation to relevant authorities so as to begin thorough consultation on how the Act is going to work.
In its milestone achievements, BCA has managed to host the first international conference in 2010 followed by that of July 2012. The sustained networking and collaboration with relevant organizations in this profession is progressing fairly well.
“We have also establishment partnerships with the US-based National Body for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and organizations with African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe represented at this forum. We would like to come up with and adopt best practices through their support. We are pleased to be working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education & Skills Development (MOESD) and National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) to underscore our national vision,” Muchado stated.
BCA current President from the University of Botswana’s Department of Educational Foundations Counseling, Dr. Sithandazile Msimanga, said the theme for the 2012 Conference: “New Beginnings: Trends and Development of Counseling in Botswana”, augurs well “Ubuntu” or “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” translated as: “We are what we are because of others around us!”
Msimanga said although the Conference has been a resounding success, counseling services in Botswana and Africa face challenges of being viewed with skepticism and suspicion, “it is the professional counselors and other providers of psychosocial services to diffuse such mindsets. The Conference is but one forum that can be of utility in this effort. Counselors can also enhance the clout of the profession through their deeds and general conduct as persons and professionals each day of their lives.”