Concerns of non-compliance
Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies (GIPS)’s Faculty of Technology in Phakalane faces an uncertain future after concerns of non-compliance have emerged once again. GIPS offers Diploma in Automotive Electrical Engineering, Motor Vehicle Body Repair and Refinishing and Diesel Plant Engineering. The faculty has 13 staff members working as lecturers. The institution has a student population of 128. However, since late last year the institution has been marred by controversy; in October students boycotted classes citing a long list of grievances including none accreditation of programmes as well as untrained lecturers.
Last week in Parliament the concerns re-emerged following questions by Gaborone North Member of Parliament (MP) Haskins Nkaigwa on the institution’s operations. Responding to Nkaigwa’s inquiries, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng revealed that they were aware of non-compliance issues at the training institute.
“We are aware that there is 1 (one) lecturer who was engaged to offer Advanced Diploma in Automotive Electrical Engineering and two (2) lectures with certificate qualification were engaged to offer Advanced Diploma in Motor Vehicle Body Repair and Refinishing. The requirement, Madam Speaker, is that a lecturer of a learning programme should have a qualification one level higher than the programme being delivered,” Olopeng told Parliament.
Olopeng revealed that the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) was dealing directly with the matter and sanctions will be imposed on the education training provider, which may include revocation of its registration.
This publication has established that BQA in early 2019 launched investigations into GIPS’s Faculty of Technology and the institution was found to be lacking in compliance issues in a number of areas. In an interview this week with The Botswana Gazette, BQA Chief Spokesperson Selwana Koppenhaver, confirmed that there was a recent audit that was carried on the institution but the audit report is yet to be released.
“The Provider was audited on the 18th-19th February 2019 and all the relevant stakeholders engaged. The Audit Report has been compiled and once its recommendations are approved the necessary action, if any, will be taken,” Koppenhaver stated.
“Note that the penalty depends on the nature of the non-compliance and I will therefore not be able to state for a fact what penalties will be imposed on GIPS, if any, because the Audit Report is yet to be discussed with the internal governance structure of BQA. Once this is done the decision will be communicated with the Education and Training Provider and the necessary action, if any, taken.”
When contacted for comment GIPS Public Rellations Office unit were said to be out of the office and would respond to The Botswana Gazette’s inquiries upon arrival. The PRO did not honour the agreement to revert.