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Parliament rejects professional bodies motion

08 Aug 2023

Parliament has rejected a motion calling on government to harmonise professional bodies acts with that of Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA).

The motion was presented by Palapye Member of Parliament, Mr Onneetse Ramogapi. He requested government to harmonise all professional bodies acts such as Real Estate Botswana, Engineers Registration Botswana, Botswana Health Professional Council and any other with the BQA Act.

Mr Ramogapi argued that BQA was the only accreditation body in the country, but that some professional bodies refused to register graduates questioning their qualifications.

 He said the motion aimed to provide a solution to the standoff between professional bodies, graduates and the BQA Act.

During debate, Tlokweng Member of Parliament, Mr Thulagano Segokgo, requested Mr Ramogapi to withdraw the motion on the basis that government was addressing the problem.

 He said the MP should make a follow-up question to seek progress on the government intervention

Mr David Tshere of Mahalapye West said the problem on the ground was undesirable, adding that government sponsored students to BQA accredited schools only for professional bodies to refuse to recognise the graduates.

He said without professional bodies admitting the students, it would be difficult to have confidence that the graduates could deliver, adding that professional bodies looked at the quality of service and course relevance.

He stated that harmonising the acts would support graduates to be employable.

Dr Edwin Dikoloti of Mmathethe-Molapowabojang said different professional bodies were there to protect the interests and safety of Batswana. He added that professional bodies offered check and balances which could not be compromised.

Dr Dikoloti also stated that there was a need for mindset change among professional bodies to embrace qualifications from other institutions.

He further said professional bodies should not set standards too high to admit young graduates and further added that the intervention by government would address the gaps. Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang of Sefhare-Ramokgonami said it was unacceptable for some professional bodies to be listing the names of universities they accepted.

He said the situation had created an artificial shortage of professionals leading to government having to pay scare-skills allowance.

Dr Gobotswang also said professional bodies should look into personnel and equipment in schools to ensure quality training.

While Selebi Phikwe West legislator, Mr Dithapelo Keorapetse, said the situation on the ground had contributed to unemployment.

The Minister of Education and Skills Development, Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, maintained that efforts were ongoing to review laws governing professional bodies and the BQA Act with a view to remove overlaps and creating harmony among the laws.

The minister said professional bodies were working with their parent ministries and added that BQA had mandated that programmes first be endorsed by professional bodies before being accredited.

He also noted that the BQA had signed agreements with some professional bodies to pave the way for acceptance of graduates upon completion, hence he said, government could not approve the motion.

The motion was rejected with the majority of those from the ruling party indicating that government was addressing the problem while those from the opposition supported it, saying government had taken too long to address the challenge. ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Bonang Masolotate

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 08 Aug 2023