Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) delivery systems have been identified as ‘well placed to train the skilled and entrepreneurial workforce that Africa needs to create wealth and emerge out of poverty’ (Report on Strategy to Revitalize TVET in Africa, 2007). Hence the development of a robust TVET system is a key component in Botswana’s transformation and diversification agenda.
This important role that TVET can play in supporting social and economic development goals is also echoed by the World Bank, African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN) through one of its Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and it is reflected in the various ‘poverty eradication strategies’ that have been developed and are now being implemented by the intergovernmental organizations in collaboration with countries participating in such initiatives. The key is to build employable skills.
TVET system in Botswana is evolving. Previously it was badly neglected and was consequently not able to appropriately respond to the needs of the labour market. Manual skilled occupations had very low status and only least academically able students were expected to enrol at TVET institutions. It was only in recent years that the government is putting a lot of effort to structure the sector and this is supported by policies and acts that have been put in place.
In Botswana, private sector institutions are the main providers of TVET, followed by the consultancy firms and work-based institutions. The industry is growing as new entrants come about, existing institutions increase their visibility by opening more branches, and more programmes are developed or introduced either through self-initiatives by the institutions or through partnerships with regional and international institutions.
The introduction of the Vocational Training Fund (VTF) and the role played by the newly established Education Hub are also contributing to the growth in demand. While there are natural factors and behaviours that are also causing for this industry to excel, the government is also playing an active role in influencing the success of this industry through the provision of an enabling environment.
The country’s newly developed National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) recognizes TVET as having a significant role to play in ensuring Botswana’s successful transition from being a natural resource driven economy to a diversified economy that is characterized in terms of a high skilled knowledge intensive service sector. The development of this sector is hence enjoying a co-ordinated effort across a number of government ministries, functions, and individual portfolios.