A group of former students at ABM University in Gaborone are disgruntled that the institution had awarded them a Certificate qualification after being sponsored and admitted to study Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
The students reported the matter to the Office of the President last year November following numerous meetings with the school management. Ernest Moseki of the Appeals Unit at OP confirmed this in an interview with Botswana Guardian. He acknowledged receipt of the letter in February.
This publication has learned that OP was convinced by the Ministry of Tertiary Education, on behalf of the school that the qualification was Diploma and not Certificate as students had stated in their queries three months before the OP’s response. In their letter, which they copied to the Department of Vocational Tertiary Education Training, the students said that they were sponsored and admitted for a Diploma qualification under Target 2000 for 24 months.
“We are doing an external qualification of City and Guilds where diploma is equivalent to City and Guilds Level 2, which is less the level we are sponsored for. Furthermore Department of Tertiary Education funding does not cover the progression from Level 2,” says the letter. They also notified the DVET on the issue. “According to City and Guilds, the programme is a Certificate qualification, whereas our sponsorship and admission letter states that we enrolled for Diploma,” they say in their letter dated September 22, 2017.
The students say they started their First year, semester one in October 2016, doing modules, which are not in City and Guilds programme, viz, Computer Application Appreciation, Self realisation, Economics, Introduction to Business, and Communication studies which ran till December when they sat for an exam. For the second semester, they registered for six modules, being Principles of Electrical and Electronics technology, Working in Engineering, Wiring and Faultfinding, Maintenance, Enterpreneur and Wilding& Fabrication. For the third semester, they registered for six modules.
“All the modules that we complete in Electrical engineering will be six in all, yet the school expects us to do six modules for a period of 24 months. The exams that we sit for are for a Certificate qualification. Our plea is that we should complete the course at a Diploma as stated in our admission and sponsorship letter,” say the students.
BQA’s response-written by Selebo Jobe-on behalf of the Chief Executive was that an evaluation of qualification of the learning programme was undertaken and it was concluded that ABM was offering a Diploma and not Certificate like the students were saying.
The students also engaged Engineers Regulatory Board, which confirmed that the City and Guilds Level 2 is a Certificate level ‘where the holder of the award only is competent as semi-skilled.’ ABM Engineering lecturer Leonard Ndlovu, whose name appears in the management/students meetings could not be interviewed and referred this reporter to Public Relation office.
In an email sent to Botswana Guardian this week, ABM’s Public and Stakeholders Relations officer Lesego Obotseng said that the matter had been in discussion and that the cause of the issue was a communication breakdown between the Franchise (City & Guilds) and the institution. “This matter has since been resolved. I confirm that the students shall graduate with a diploma qualification as already communicated to them on numerous occasions,” she said.
However, students told this publication that they received phone messages from management last Saturday night telling them to come for a meeting at school this Tuesday to resolve the matter. Less than 40 students attended, out of the 234 that study the course. “They admitted to us that they registered wrong qualification and that we should return the certificates to school for them to correct them. And they promised that our certificates will be bearing a Diploma qualification when we graduate in November,” said the students.Tshoganyetso Mangadi, who is the HOD Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Ndlovu attended the meeting.