Thursday, October 1, 2020

Cops clamp down on bogus schools

Botswana police officers this week fanned out across the country to close down schools that were blacklisted by the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA).
The training authority last week published a list of schools that are not registered or accredited with them.
“Police have started closing them down silently and the penalty is P5000 or imprisonment for those who will prefer to break the law, (BOTA) intends to clean the system and rid the country of all unregistered and unaccredited schools operating in the country. We can’t allow them to continue breaking the law, reaping off the public and offering programmes that we have not approved”, said Mathaka Mmapatsi, BOTA Director of quality assurance.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Standard, Mmapatsi said it was unfortunate that a lot of people had lost their money, adding that BOTA could not just stand aside and watch people breaking the law.
The training authority registration gives schools a license to operate after a formal evaluation against BOTA set criteria which include, among others, financial viability, commitment to quality and service of public interest.
According to Mmapatsi, BOTA has since 2002 been holding workshops to explain all the regulatory requirements and trying to build a quality assurance system. He added that their attempts were dismissed by some schools which ignored their plea to register. Others registered but were informed of missing information in application forms and instead got reluctant.
By 2005, BOTA pleaded with the ministry to help with the registration of schools after noticing that schools were mysteriously closing down while teaching standards were low in others.
As he put it, most of the schools were not committed to the interests of learners.
Mmapatsi brushed aside complaints that registered and yet unaccredited schools were also breaking the law and deserved to be closed.
“For now we want to clear all schools and make sure they comply with the first part of the law of registration and, after that, accreditation will follow,” he said. “And, if some do not apply for accreditation after six months, we will be forced to close them down, too”
He also revealed that they were working on a modality to provide registration and accreditation at the same time.
“Education is a business and requires a lot of investment and proper management,” he said

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