Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BQA is a huge mess ÔÇô says staff

Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA)’s staff interviews that form part of a document leaked to Sunday Standardraise questions about the quality of education in the country.
Established by an Act of Parliament in 2013, BQA took over the quality assurance functions that were previously performed by the old Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) and Tertiary Education Council (TEC).
The report paints a disturbing picture of BQA’s oversight roles presenting the organisation as almost dead.
Responding to questions posed by LEAD Consulting (a company that was engaged by BQA), employees stated that “we are lucky to be a government institution and sole provider of these services; we are giving very poor dismal service to our customers and we don’t seem to care about that. We are too worried about our comfort and convenience.”
 
The staff stated that “It is no longer a reputable organization like it used to be because of instability within, there is no clear direction of where the organization is going especially with the implementation of the new BQA regulations.”
 
One of the respondents said “as it is at the moment, this is the unhealthiest company to work for……it is just a mess. I don’t have any confidence in the organization because critical decisions are ignored and not firmed up.”
 
Yet another responded thus “we are busy chasing the wrong things. The leaders don’t want to take decisions and we are inconveniencing our customers who pay a lot of money for these services. This is wrong and quite frankly I am very disappointed in all this.”
The employees further stated that change management was critical and how it should be managed.
“Changing from one system to another requires much attention and financial aspect in order to meet the expectations of its stakeholders and employees but currently there is no evidence if it will be sustainable,” the employees say.
They further stated that “poor management strategies make me doubt we have a bright future ahead as an organization, eg. Management fail to budget for activities of the organization.”
 
Commenting on ethics and integrity, the employees state that “ethics and integrity lack in this organization, there is a lot of favouritism. Fairness and consistency has always been an issue in this organization. There is always certain individuals who benefit in almost everything.”
They also state that “leaders of the organization are self-centered, everything should be done to benefit them first, then other are considered there after staffing situations not fairly done, support staff always get full staff complement more especially HR.”
 
According to employees “distributions of resources is not done fairly. Training of staff is not based on merits. My organization does not take welfare seriously, there is too much favouritism. Leadership influence decisions in favour of their friends without clear decision processes e.g training plans, benchmarking.”
 
They note that the level of professionalism is questionable for other members of management and staff adding there is a lot of favouritism in this Organisation.
 
“Only a few get what they want even when they do not deserve it. Those who are deserving get nothing. We reward the wrong behaviour and hard work means nothing here,” said one of the employees.
On operational effectiveness one of the employees state, “it not yet clear on how will start implementing the new BQA regulations. Limited attention is given to my office, only turns out to be given attention when there is fire-fighting to be done. Human resource is a challenge in my office and strategic representation towards our function is unsatisfactory.”
Another one says “My Division is short staffed with a lot of work to do, so it is very difficult to deliver efficiently and effectively and the Management is not doing anything about it.”
The employees said some procedures and systems are yet to be finalised making it difficult to work productively and effectively.
“There are people here who do not want to share resources. That means a few people believe they have a right to certain resources and not others. When you complain nothing happens. Nothing is done if the leaders are not affected. You cannot expect all employees to be highly engaged in this type of scenario,” one of the employees says.
Some employees say their managers are not conversant on how the new system (the quality assurance functions) is to be implemented.
 
BQA Public Relations Manager Selwana Pilatwe said the organisation has a Change Management project which is based on its Change Management Strategy.
“The Strategy includes, amongst others reinforcement of positive change, resistance management, mentoring and coaching,” she said. She said the Authority does not condone favouritism nor any other unethical conduct.
Asked if BQA has implemented some of the recommendations of the report that were due before end of January 2018 she said “Yes, the Salary structure is being implemented and so are other recommendations of the study within the limits and authority of the organisation.” 
 

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