BIUST Denies Teaching Unaccredited Courses

On Wednesday, Botswana's tertiary school courses regulator Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) came out with a statement communicating an intention to revoke, from 2018 June 2023, some courses in numerous tertiary institutions. These include Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN),  and New Era College.

The regulator had not provided a reason for why the courses were being revoked their accreditation.

BIUST has since come out to refute the communication by BQA with its own statement.

BQA had stated that the courses to be revoked at BIUST were Bachelor of Engineering (Honors) Civil and Environmental Engineering as well as Bachelor of Engineering (Honors) Material and Metallurgical Engineering.

"[BQA] issued an accreditation letter for the two Learning Programmes on 1st March 2023, stating the expiry date as 23rd February 2027. At the time these learning programmes were accredited, BQA did not indicate the requirement for endorsement for the programmes by the Engineering Registration Board (ERB). 

On 2nd June 2023, ERB issued the forms for endorsement of Engineering Learning Programmes. Upon BQA's realization of the need for endorsement of the Learning Programmes by ERB before they are accredited, BQA engaged BIUST on Thursday 15th June 2023 where BIUST committed to align. BIUST submitted the application for endorsement to ERB on 19th June 2023, and this was done as per the agreement reached between BQA and BIUST at the meeting of 15th June 2023."

In summary, BIUST states that BQA initially accredited the courses without communicating the extra requirement, the required approval of the said courses by the ERB, with them. Whether the BQA did not know about this requirement is clear.

Nevertheless, after they got the communication from BQA that those courses would need additional accreditation by the ERB, BIUST claims that they eventually submitted the requisite requirements to the ERB and are still waiting for them to communicate back the status of that process.

"ERB is currently processing the documentation for the two BEg (Honors) degrees and BIUST is still awaiting ERB's endorsement. It is therefore unfortunate and regressive for the BQA to release a Public Statement prematurely on a matter that is still before them for consideration as agreed to by all stakeholders. This statement has not only caused panic locally but regionally and internationally as well," BIUST concluded.

BIUST further states that it would not be admitting any students to those Honors courses until the ERB accreditation process is completed.

It is important to note that according to BIUST, only the "Honors" versions of those degree programs are pending accreditation. The non-Honors versions of the programs are accredited and prospective students are encouraged to apply for them.

"We wish to make it categorically clear that BIUST is currently offering Bachelor of Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bachelor of Engineering Materials and Metallurgical Engineering programmes," the Palapye-based university said in the statement. 

"These programmes are fully recognized by the BQA following the transition arrangements from Tertiary Education Council (TEC) to BQA. Therefore, all students admitted and prospective students wishing to enrol for these programmes are not affected by the Public Notice as issued."

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