University of Botswana luminary historian, Professor Brian Mokopakgosi, has taken the reins at the embattled Botswana Examination Council (BEC) as Caretaker Executive Secretary with effect from October 1.
His appointment comes at a time when BEC is yet to release the findings of investigation on the conduct of the 2012 examinations following the suspension of its substantive Executive Secretary, Dr Serara Moahi early this year.
It is understood that Moahi’s suspension was part of a wider approach to the investigation process that was being undertaken by a panel appointed by the Board to probe possible maladministration at BEC.
Mokopakgosi faces a mammoth task to restore public confidence as the BEC was in the recent past embroiled in scandal after scandal which included, among others, multiple errors in candidate results and a new examination system called the Botswana National Examinational Processing System (BNEPS), especially the web-based Malepa which has never worked effectively. BEC is said to have wasted millions on the setting up of the BNEPS.
Following Moahi’s suspension, a panel of investigators was assembled to among other things establish what happened during the 2012 examination cycle with particular emphasis on the Junior Certificate Examinations, suggest ways to enhance the examination process, and make recommendations relevant to the conduct of examinations and assist the BEC to best deliver on its mandate.
While the report by the panel of investigators is yet to be made public, it is understood that it confirmed that the 2012 results were riddled with errors.
In a statement on Monday, BEC spokesperson, Charles Keikwatlhae, stated that Mokopakgosi’s appointment as Caretaker Executive Secretary entails the assumption of the full mandate and authority of a substantive Executive Secretary. These include driving the strategic mandate of the Council, as well as its day to day operations.
┬á“Among his specific assignments is to manage the conduct of the 2013 examinations to ensure that the results are released timely and with minimal hiccup; to coordinate Board committees assigned to address the recommendations of the report of the investigation; to ensure the expeditious implementation of the decisions the Board; and also to provide leadership for major projects of the Council such as transformation of BEC that will result from the amended Act,” said Keikwatlhae.
Mokopakgosi joins BEC from UB where he has worked for many years as an academic and administrator. He has previously served the University of Botswana as a Dean of Faculty and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
He has also served in several national and international boards including the board of Botswana Vision Council, the Open Society Foundation; the board of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), and has been a member of editorial advisory boards of a number of international journals.
Professor Mokopakgosi holds a Master’s degree and PhD from the Johns Hopkins University and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies respectively.