As a body that was established with the mandate of accrediting tertiary institutions and ensuring that such institutions deliver quality education, the Tertiary Education Council is effectively the custodian of Botswana’s future human resource.
For this country to spur an educated nation that can compete globally and take this country to greater heights, the TEC must ensure that we have well resourced institutions that offer high grade education.
In the past, students from various tertiary institutions have raised many complaints, in some instances even going on strikes over the quality of education in local institutions, citing the poor quality of lecturers, sub-standard resources like libraries and laboratories, and the shallow content of the courses.
Cleanup operations at some local educational institutions have rooted out bogus lecturers who were found working without work and residence permits. The question that begs the answer is, if these lecturers are qualified, why don’t such institutions follow the appropriate procedures and employ them lawfully?
If TEC is willing to assist local institutions to recruit qualified personnel from outside, why do these institutions still find room to recruit them through the back door?
There is a problem of accessibility which also has to be addressed.
Access to education reduces from 100% in primary to junior community schools; to 60% in senior school and to a paltry 11.4% at tertiary. There is a need to improve access to tertiary education, while not sacrificing on quality, of course.
The new tertiary education policy seeks to increase access, improve quality and ensure relevance of programs to the national economy, global competitiveness and the broader development agenda. All that is very good and effort should be harnessed to deliver on that mandate.
Thousands of graduates roam the streets because they are unemployable.
There is a big mismatch between our education and what the industry requires.
Thus a lot of graduates have proved themselves hopeless when given a chance of either or setting up their own enterprises.
There is a big gap between the resources spent and the quality of the product.
The recent announcement by TEC’s Executive Secretary, Dr Patrick Molotsi, that there is a lot of transformation taking place at the institution is a welcome development.
“We register institutions fairly and objectively. We are very considerate about the welfare/state of the tertiary institution before registering it, looking at factors such as who are the lecturers, are they qualified, and whether the infrastructure is in good condition,” he said.
These are all welcome words that we want to see put into practice.
Batswana are worried at the amount of public money that finances bogus institutions. We want the TEC to make sure that the accreditation process is thorough.
TEC must use internationally recognized professional bodies that can root out bogus certificates and ensure that we produce qualified personnel who are trained by qualified lecturers.
TEC should also help local institutions to be affiliated to internationally acclaimed colleges, for obvious reasons.
Another milestone that Molotsi mentioned is the Human Resource Development Strategy, through which TEC will develop an area of knowledge management and develop a funding model based on allocation of resources objectively.
The unassailable fact is that, as a statutory organization established to plan and coordinate tertiary education in Botswana, TEC should be at the forefront of its game.
Allegations have been made that some local institutions are actually more expensive than other more established institutions in the region. Pricing should be monitored, and high prices should be justified.