A Hospitality Standard Setting Task Force (SSTF) working under the Botswana Qualifications Authority was in Maun this past week with the aim of consulting with the industry. Among other things, the task force discussed issues surrounding the developed unit standards and qualifications of the hospitality sector.
SSTF Chairperson Daisy Bathusi said at the meeting that a wider stakeholder consultation task team has been working on this kind of research since 2004. Bathusi said the task force has the mandate to iron out looming differences between employees and employers in the hospitality industry. She noted that the hospitality industry has for a long time been underrated as it was seen to be one of those dominated by inexperienced people, even though it has potential to be an economic driver. Because it is often dismissed and relegated to be for the less educated, she advised that the time has come for those already in the sector to uplift it so that people may start appreciating what they stand for.
“Our primary focus is on employees. We want to focus on outcomes and so our wish is that these standards should work for all of you. You also need to understand that they are not meant for rating but for service, which therefore should give you ample time to prove yourself even more. Mind you, some of us here are from industry but we do not profess to be experts. So this is why we want the industry to either endorse the standards or give whatever feedback they might have, because we want the industry to own them at the end of the day,” she said.
She noted that the industry had over the years complained about the poor quality of students from local institutions, most of who because of their lack of the required work experience were considered to be unemployable and not fit for duty, which is why the industry was roped in to guide curriculum. After the realisation the industry was swamped with both hands-on and practically field based people who despite their abilities have not gone through any formal training, Bathusi stated that a conclusion was met that they be given accreditation certificated of competency based on these levels. She could however not been drawn into clarifying why the industry still remains the least employer as they now solely rely on services provided by students working under the internship programme, resulting in them not employing permanent staff. Nevertheless she said the issue will be looked into and addressed in due time.