The Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology (MOTE) took a strategic decision to transfer the recognition of Non-Credit Bearing Short Courses (NCBSCs) from Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) to Human Resource Development Council (HRDC). The need to address skills gap in the industry through skills training and development interventions prompted the transfer of the NCBSC function from BQA to HRDC as it is a necessary component in facilitating of workplace learning. The function of processing NCBSC applications for recognition by HRDC was effected on the 1st April 2021.

HRDC is mandated to promote skills training and development in workplaces. Numerous analytical reports and policy documents have identified the shortage of relevant skills as a major impediment to economic growth and competitiveness. Although NCBSCs are not a component of the National Credit Qualifications Framework (NCQF), their importance in human capital development cannot be neglected. The NCBSCs are deemed necessary due to labour market dynamics and the associated technological changes. They contribute to lifelong learning. The NCBSCs are skills development interventions post tertiary education and training to address the operational skills gaps in the industry and to respond to the new skills demand in the economy.

For several years, skills mismatches, talent shortages and heightened misalignment between incentives and rewards for workers have always been flagged as a hiccup hindering the advancement, productivity, prosperity. It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent acceleration of technology adoption, have created challenges which have now become even more pronounced and compounded further by permanent and temporary loses of employment and income. To address these issues, countries, including Botswana, should focus in the revival phase of gradually transitioning from absent schemes to new labour market opportunities, which call for scaling up reskilling and upskilling programmes and rethinking active labour market policies.

In the transformation phase, leaders should work on policies that seek to update education curricula and expand investment in the skills needed for jobs in ‘markets of tomorrow’, and in parallel rethink labour laws for the new economy and use new talent management technologies to adapt to the new needs of the workforce (Global Competitiveness Report, 2020). Shortage of relevant skills in the industry can be addressed effectively by recognising the importance of NCBSCs, which also promote continuous professional development (CPD).

A number of interactive meetings have been held between BQA and HRDC, to look into the legal provisions that can facilitate the process. To facilitate the transfer of the function, the two organisations established a Committee that developed guidelines and all the necessary tools and instruments whose primary purpose was to standardise the operational processes for consistency and to confirm that the short courses are relevant and responsive to the labour market needs. Workplaces that train their employees under duly recognised NCBSCs will be eligible for reimbursement from the Human Resource Development (HRD) Fund.

News Date: 
Thursday, April 1, 2021