Obonye Mphinyane (Head Distance Education)
Dr Warr (Technical Advisor)
Mr Magetse (Principal Adult Education Officer)
Mary B. Dingalo (Adult Educational Assistant)
Eric L. Setabo (AEO)
Lorato K. Moncho (AEO)
Masego Bogapi (Senior Adult Education)
Mmabaledi K. Seeletso (Course Development Officer)
Atlatsame H. Kayumba (CDO)
Fancy L. Molefi (Learner Support)
Tel: 581 470/79
Fax: 581 473
Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) inherited the
programmes and courses previously offered by the Ministry of Educations Non-formal
Education Division (NFED). These focused on schooling.
In Botswana, Lower Primary consists of Standard 1 to 4 and the medium
of instruction is seTswana, Upper Primary consists of standards 5 to 7 and English as
medium of instruction is introduced. The following five years are secondary school. Form 1
to 3 is Junior secondary and culminates in the Junior Certificate (JC) examination. Senior
secondary is form 4 and 5, and culminates in the General Certificate in Secondary
Education (GCSE). Currently, about 42% of students proceed from Junior to Senior secondary
school. The Junior certificate consists of the following subjects:
- Office procedures;
- General Science;
- Social studies; and
- Religious education.
The GCSE certificate is now to be termed the Botswana GCSE (BGCSE) and
will be equivalent to the Higher International General Certificate in Secondary Education
(HIGCSE). The previous syllabus included 6 GCSE subjects:
- Accounts; and
- Human and Social Biology.
The new BGCSE will include the first three subjects in the above list
- Social Studies; and
The new education system calls for more practical skills rather than
pure academic competence.
BOCODOL offers distance education courses for preparation for the JC
and BGCSE examinations. The college was established out of the Distance Education section
of the Non-Formal Education Department. Part of its mission is to extend distance
education course provision beyond schooling to offer vocational and other courses. In
1999, it has approximately 5,000 subject enrolments from 600 students. With the growth in
demand for GCSE qualifications from employees there is now increased demand for GCSE
enrolment. Now employers and institutions of further education and training are demanding
GCSE certification as a prerequisite while previously a JC sufficed. For example, many
primary school teachers and rural nurses are now expected to upgrade their qualifications.
Delivery Modes and Technologies
The BOCODOL courses are primarily print-based with some audio support
broadcast on Radio Botswana.
Learner Support Strategies
Tutors are employed for each subject to offer support to learners.
Tutors are responsible for making assignments and for offering support in the evenings at
study centres. There are about 17 study centres scattered throughout Botswana. The
intention is for learners to meet for two hours per week per subject. Tutorials are
timetabled by subject, with three-hour sessions taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Thursday evenings. In addition, advisors at centres in Gaborone, Maun, Francistown, and
Kang offer counselling and guidance to students. Wherever there is a NFED office (of which
there are approximately 17 countrywide), learners can use these support services.
Assessment strategies vary for each subject. Each subject curriculum is
divided into workbooks, which are further subdivided into units and lessons. Learners have
self-study assignments to complete to which they are given the solutions. In general,
learners are expected to complete and submit one assignment per workbook. These
assignments are submitted to BOCODOL officers and then distributed to tutors for marking.
The Course Development officers monitor the marking of assignments. The assignments are
returned to learners with comments. All correspondence takes place via post. For each
subject, learners sit the same examinations as students in schools. Examinations are
scheduled into the school year calendar and administered by the examinations division of
the Ministry of Education.
BOCODOL strives to operate through teamwork in all facets of the
organization. Quality checks are done by all staff. All staff know what other staff are
supposed to be doing and what each team members constraints and strengths are.
Materials development is done by Course Development Officers at BOCODOL and by part-time
writers and editors. Materials are shared until all members of the group are satisfied.
Process review for the entire organization is conducted once a month.
Through this process, BOCODOL staff identify and discuss current successes, constraints,
and changes relating to all aspects of the organization. In addition, BOCODOL has
established individual groups that focus on specific topics of concern. These include
- Materials development processes;
- Materials production and distribution (Why do materials no reach learners quickly?); and
- Inactive students.
Tutor training takes place in a weekend face-to-face session before the
academic year. This focuses on introducing distance education and how to help distance
education learners. Refresher tutor training sessions are also conducted. Currently,
BOCODOL has approximately 100 tutors, each of whom has a subject focus.
Staff at BOCODOL are trained through workshops, seminars, short
courses, and long courses. At times, this has been administered by Department for
International Development (DFID) sponsorship and ongoing consultancy with the Ministry of
Education in the United Kingdom. It is government policy for government employees to be
eligible for prolonged study leave. Employees are released for study purposes with full
pay and a tuition allowance for the first year and half pay and a tuition allowance for
the second year. The need for and content of workshops and seminars is decided upon by all
National and Institutional Policy
BOCODOL is a recent policy development with legislation for its
establishment being passed in late 1998. It is influenced by the changes in curriculum to
the BGSE and will be reworking all of its courses to fulfil these new national policies.
Enabling and Hindering Factors
The following factors were identified by BOCODOL staff as contributing
to their ability to function well:
- BOCODOL has strong political support. The Ministry of Education has demonstrated
committed support from top management. Even though it is intended to become a parastatal,
it has generous support (budgetary and otherwise) from government, the private sector, and
- The Non-formal Education Department (the mother body of BOCODOL) is very
supportive. BOCODOL is viewed as the new baby of the department that needs nurturing until
it can manage on its own.
- BOCODOL staff are committed and cohesive. The staff work as a team.
- BOCODOL is highly equipped. Central government resources from budget not used by other
government departments have been directed to it. As such, all staff members have their own
computers. There is also a photocopier, printer and A3 printer, and facsimile machine.
Rent, electricity, telephone accounts, and water are all paid by central government.
The following factors were mentioned as hindering BOCODOLs work:
- Budget BOCODOL was established after the 1999 budget allocation. As such it has
had to rely support form the NFED and DFID.