Tertiary Education Council, TEC, is coming up with a new holistic way of ensuring that the country’s tertiary institutions train and produce graduates that meet and match the country’s manpower needs.
This is according to the TEC Executive Secretary, Dr Patrick Molutsi.
To achieve this, TEC is spearheading an ambitious national human resources strategic plan that will create a proper audit and data base of the country’s manpower needs.
TEC says, under the strategy they will ensure that training institutions produce quality and relevant graduates.
At present the business sector is complaining of a mismatch between its needs and the manpower churned by training institutions.
The new strategy necessarily calls a closer interaction between training institutions and the businesses and industries than has been the case hitherto.
Institutions to be licensed by TEC will have to conform to a National Qualification Framework which shall be a standards setting template.
Dr Molutsi says, when completed, the framework shall allow for comparisons between and across the graduates as a way of making sure that all products are able to perform at least the bare minimum of what is expected of them under the standards.
As a way of ensuring that graduates meet these minimum standards set for every course, TEC will look at the caliber of the institutions to gauge and enforce their compliance with requisite academic leadership skills.
Lecturers shall also be scrutinized to ensure they are of the levels suitable enough for them to produce required standards of graduates.
TEC is coming up with these measures not only to ensure quality but also in the wake of realization that there is need to protect the public and the consumers.
With demand for tertiary education in Botswana surpassing supply, there is real risk that consumers can easily fall victim to those entities bent on making money out of the people’s desperation.
Dr Molutsi makes it clear that, depending on the outcome of the strategic plan, recommendations could be made that some existing institutions be closed down either because they are not properly equipped to produce the required standards or they simply are not contributing towards the country’s manpower priorities.
Dr Molutsi, however, warns that, given the ongoing tide for globalization, it is not possible that Botswana will, in the near future, become self sufficient as not to require the services of expatriate manpower.
The aim, therefore, should be for Botswana to endeavour to produce high quality graduates that will themselves be exported into the global market, he said.
“Botswana should seriously aim to train for the global market as part of its economic diversification efforts,” said Dr Molutsi.
He said, already, there are examples of countries earning significant remittances from their labour force in the diaspora.
“We can’t stop people from coming to work here. What we can do is to train our people at the highest levels so that they meet the competitive world standards required of them and join the international labour force. Sending people to work outside is not a lost investment. If anything, it is an investment because not only do they bring in money, they also bring back skills and ideas,” he said.