A delegation from the Engineering Council of South Africa (ESCA) was in Botswana recently to tour the University of Botswana’s Faculty of Engineering and Technology. ESCA is a statutory body established in terms of the Engineering Profession Act (EPA) with the primary role of regulating the profession.
Its core functions are the accreditation of engineering programmes, registration of persons as professionals in specified categories and the regulation of the practice of registered persons. Three years ago, the UB approached ECSA over the possibility of accrediting its Degree programmes- being Mechanical, Civil, Electrical and Electronics and submitted them for desktop review. Currently, FET graduates are not recognised regionally or internationally. It is because of this that UB has asked ECSA to help. Once accredited, FET will further qualify for The Washington Accord, which is the international standard for engineering boasting of affiliations with countries like United States of America, Australia and New Zealand.
In an interview with Botswana Guardian, Dean of FET Prof. Benjamin Bolaane said the move will mean FET graduates will be able to look for jobs in SA and in other countries where practising requires registration with the professional body. “Once approved by the UB system, we’ll call ECSA again for the final stage,” he said, also revealing that they hope to run the programme in line with ECSA by August. They expect to invite ECSA again to assess a possible award for accreditation in two and half years.
“As it is right now, South Africa doesn’t recognise our graduates as they first have to go through ECSA. Accreditation would open doors for them,” he said. ECSA representative Rod Harker said during the tour that the loopholes identified would require mainly paperwork and money. “They are not yet there but they will get there,” he said of his FET operations. So far they have helped Namibia and Mozambique and he said the intention is to assist all SADC countries. Meanwhile, FET graduates have only registered with the local Engineering Registration Board.