World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-11-10

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

Botswana’s strategic planning takes place in National Development Plans (NDPs), which cover 5 year periods. The current NDP 10 covers a 7 year period (2009-2016) to coincide with the national Vision’s horizon. NDP 10 is also aligned to the Millennium Development Goals which are reflected in the plan. It aims “to continue to improve access to high quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET), with a view to producing a competent, innovative and internationally competitive National Human Resource with ability to contribute to the socio-economic and technological advancement of the country, the creation of employment, the reduction of inequity and engaging those affected by poverty.” (NDP10). The overall goal for education, including TVET, is in line with the Vision to provide accessible, equitable quality education. NDP10 aims at three TVET outcomes: improved vocational and technical skills; employability and an adequate supply of skills (NDP10 p 108).

Although Botswana is one of the economic success stories of Africa, its growth, heavily dependent upon the diamond industry, started slowing significantly in the 1990s because of the erratic performance of the diamond mining sector. Therefore, the Government acknowledged the country’s need for economic diversification and skills development. The Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE), i.e. the current Botswana education policy, presented in 1994, sees vocational education and training as crucial to the country’s transition from a traditional agro-based to an industrialized economy.

The RNPE gave impetus to the development of The National Policy on Vocational Education and Training (NPVET) in 1997. The NPVET was developed under the supervision of both the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE&SD) and the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA), with the objective to place vocational education and training at the same level as academic education and to “integrate the different types of vocational education and training into one comprehensive system” (Republic of Botswana, 1997). As traditional delivery methods were not meeting the needs of the modern labour force, the 1997 Vocation Education and Training Policy clearly stated the need to make TVET more accessible and equitable and to develop more flexible teaching and learning methodologies.

TVET legislation

In order to meet the recommendations of the NPVET, the Government enacted both The Vocational Training Act (2000), which led to the establishment of the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA), and The Tertiary Education Act, which led to the formation of the Tertiary Education Council (TEC).

The Department of Vocational Education and Training (DVET), which became the DTVET after the inclusion of Training, was created under the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, in order to augment what was being enforced by both acts.


  • Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs (1997). National Policy on Vocational Education and Training. Gaborone: Republic of Botswana.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/2011. Botswana. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/2011. Botswana. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

The structure of the education system in Botswana is similar to that of other Anglophone countries of the sub-Saharan region. It consists of seven years of primary education, five years of secondary education and five years of tertiary education.

Formal TVET system

The ten-year basic education programme ends up with the Junior Certificate Examination (JCE). Students can enter TVET programmes after either ten or twelve years of academic education. Those joining after ten years normally enter an artisan programme, while those entering after twelve years join a technician programme.

The first TVET centres in Botswana were created in 1965 with the “Brigades movement”. Brigades were work crews initiated by communities in the villages, in response to the unemployment of primary school leavers who could not be admitted to secondary schools because of their poor academic performance. They provide artisan training through the combination of training with production. The goods and services produced in the production units are sold to the community. In this way, Brigades focus on community development and encourage small-scale entrepreneurs. They offer three levels of training:

  • Trade certificate training programmes, which leads to a National Craft Certificate (NCC) in 17 trades;
  • Skills certificate training programmes, designed for school leavers who prefer a vocational career or desire to embark on entrepreneurship; and
  • Informal training programmes, or short-duration courses to provide self-reliance which do not lead to certification.
In addition, they provide literacy,non-formal education services, craft and business skills to the community.

There are 41 brigades, among which 21 have already been taken over by the Government (See section 3. Governance and financing). In 2008, the Brigades enrolled over six thousand students. (ADEA 2008)

In 1997, the Government established the first government technical colleges (TCs), formerly called vocational training centres (VTCs), alongside the numerous private vocational training institutions that had emerged earlier. They admit both junior and senior secondary school leavers.

There are seven technical colleges, which provide both full- and part-time second level training, leading to a National Craft Certificate (NCC).

In order to step up the access and the quality of TVET, the Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DTVET) launched in 2001 the Botswana Technical Education Programme (BTEP), a programme currently provided by the government technical colleges. This curriculum initiative is intended for young school-leavers who have completed either junior secondary or secondary education. It was developed and is being implemented in cooperation with the employers and the industry. It consists of seventeen vocational areas and is being offered at four different levels: Foundation, Certificate, Advanced Certificate and Diploma. Following nationwide consultation with stakeholders, it was decided to make entrepreneurship education an integral part of every BTEP course.

Over the years there has been a tremendous growth in the vocational sector especially in the private sector. The establishment of bodies such as the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) has seen the registration and accreditation of numerous private entities which has largely increased access to training. BOTA also accredited public institutions such as brigades.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Although Botswana does not have any lifelong learning strategy, it duly recognizes its importance through several education policies and national development plans, among others the Revised National Policy on Education (1994), the National Development Plan 9 of 2003-2007, Botswana’s Vision 2016. The Government is fully aware of the potential for recognition of skills and knowledge possessed by people without formal education or who are unemployed and is expecting the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) to help in assessing individuals who have learned through non-conventional modes (S. Steenekamp, M. Singh, 2011). For the moment, the validation, recognition and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning are conducted and endorsed by Botswana Training Authority. Non-formal and informal learners are assessed and given credits based on the evidence of their competence.

Little information is available about the providers of informal and non-formal TVET education in Botswana.

As mentioned above, the Brigades have included in their programme informal training, which does not lead to any certification.

The Botswana College of Distance Education and Open Learning (BODOCOL) was established by the Revised National Policy Education (RNPE) to deliver vocational education and training on a non-formal basis.

Some accredited centres, like Madirelo Training and Testing Centre (MTTC) and the Department of Out-of-School Education (DOSET) within the MoE&SD, offer technical and vocational programmes to out-of-school learners. For instance, a skills Development Training Programme was developed by DOSET for out-of-school children, over the age of 16, in order to provide them with vocational and entrepreneurship skills.


  • ADEA (2008). A study of Entrepreneurship Education in Botswana and the Significance of Institutional Preparation. 2008 Biennale on Education in Africa. Tunis: Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
  • ADEA (2011). Recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning, and NQFs: critical levels for lifelong learning and sustainable skills development – Comparative analysis of six African countries. Tunis: Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
  • African Economic Outlook (2008). Botswana. Accessed: 01 October 2012.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/2011. Botswana. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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3. Governance and financing


The Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for administering and managing technical and vocational education and training, while technician training is provided through several ministries, parastatal organizations and the private sector.

The Vocational Training Act initially assigned responsibility for policy formulation and strategic planning for TVET to the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs and established in 2000 the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) as the statutory body to coordinate and implement TVET policy into a comprehensive system. In order to really ensure that Botswana has “a responsive, comprehensive and coordinated education system”, BOTA was transferred to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development in 2010 and is about to merge with the Tertiary Education Council under the Human Resources Development Advisory Council (HRDAC), which will become a full Statutory Council (BOTA, 2010).

BOTA’s mission is to accredit, register and monitor both public and private training institutions in accordance with the needs of the learners and the industry, through the development of standards, quality assurance, policy advice and evaluation. The board of BOTA comprises representatives of government, employer and employee organizations and private training institutions.

BOTA is headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is supervising four different organs:

  • Research and Planning;
  • Finance and Vocational Training Funding;
  • Human Resources Management and Corporate Services;
  • Quality Assurance; and
  • Standards Development.
The Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DTVET) is responsible for the planning and implementation of all institutional-based vocational programmes – (1) technical and vocational education and (2) apprenticeship skills training – provided through the government vocational training centres and the Brigades. Indeed, reforms were launched by the Government in 2008 to register the brigades as schools under the direct responsibility of the DTVET. Most of them have now become centrally governed as public Technical Colleges and other public training institutions. Their previous relative autonomy in decision making on issues related to, amongst others, development of programmes, teaching and learning is thereby reduced.

The DTVET consists of five divisions:

  • Policy and Development;
  • Programme Development and Delivery;
  • Human Resource Management and Development;
  • Brigades Development; and
  • Departmental Management.
The Botswana Technical Education Programmes (BTEP) provided by the technical colleges is developed by the Programme Development and Delivery Unit of the DVET, in consultation with the industry and the employers.


TVET in Botswana is funded in four major areas:

  • The provision of skills programmes by TVET institutions and their day-to-day running are majorly financed by the Government’s Recurrent Budgets. TVET is mainly supported by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE&SD), followed by the Ministries of Labour and Home Affairs (MLAF), of Health (MOH), of Agriculture (MOA) and of Transport and Communications (MTC). Some institutions can also partly finance their programmes through their own training units.
  • A levy/grant system for Vocational Training was introduced by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs. The amount of the levy is based on the annual turnover of Botswana companies registered under the Vocational Training Fund, entirely managed by BOTA. As BOTA moved from one Ministry to another (See 3. Governance and Financing), the Vocational Training Fund now lies under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
  • The construction and expansion of public TVET institutions’ facilities are funded by the Government’s Development Budgets for capital investments as well as by the Government’s collaborating partners, notably the European Union, except where it entails private tertiary education institutions.
  • Technical assistance and various studies are provided through the financial support of collaborating partners of the Government, like the European Union, UNESCO, the World Bank, ILO, the African Development Bank (AfDB), etc.

  • BOTA (2010). BOTA Newsletter, Issue number 1. Gaborone: Botswana Training Authority.
  • Human Sciences Research Council (2005). Vocational Education and Training in Southern Africa, A comparative study. Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • SADC (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Botswana. Gaborone: Southern African Development Community.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/2011. Botswana. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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4. TVET teachers and trainers

TVET trainers (teachers, training consultants, instructors, trainers) are registered by BOTA, by country of origin. Although most of them are from Botswana, a big number of them come from other SADC countries. By January 2011, 3280 trainers, working for both public and private training providers, had been registered (BOTA, 2011).

BOTA recognized that there was still a gender disparity within vocational training as 68% of these 3280 registered trainers were males.

Most teachers in Public Technical Colleges have both an occupational/technical qualification and a teaching qualification, while a majority of registered trainers in Brigades and private institutions only possess a technical qualification.

The College of Vocational and Technical Education (CTVE) provides public training for vocational teachers, who obtain, upon completion of the training, a Diploma in Technical and Vocational Education (TVE).


  • BOTA (2011). Statistical Bulletin, Vol. 5 Number 3. Gaborone: Botswana Training Authority.
  • SADC (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Botswana. Gaborone: Southern African Development Community.

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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks


BOTA has initially identified three levels of competence, leading to Botswana National Vocational Qualifications (BNVQs):

  • the foundation level
  • the intermediate level
  • the certificate level
Vocational education and training is therefore regulated by BOTA up to the certificate level. The Tertiary Education Council (TEC) monitors TVET from the fourth level upwards, namely the diploma level.

The qualifications are based on unit standards and are defined through learning outcomes or competences: “A unit standard is a specific description of learning outcomes agreed on by all major actors in the particular area of learning and industry” (BOTA, 2011). Each level of qualification is divided horizontally into 12 fields, further divided into 64 sub-fields. Standards Setting Task Forces (SSTFs), made up with experts from given sectors, are in charge of developing the national training unit standards and packaging of qualifications. By the end of December 2010, the total number of unit standards registered amounted 1564, with a total of 140 qualifications (BOTA, 2011).

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The National Qualifications Framework in Botswana was created specifically for the TVET sector. The Vocational Training Act of 1998 gave the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA) the mandate to develop the Botswana National Vocational Qualifications Frameworks (BNVQF). Its design was influenced by the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) of New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. It started being implemented in 2004, after a four- year capacity building and staff development programme, and is still being developed.

Quality assurance

Institutions have to apply to BOTA to obtain the registration and accreditation of their training services and systems and to be recognized under the BNVQF. Any provider that meets minimum requirement in terms of the trainers, student numbers, budget, facilities and resources to offer training can register. By 2010, BOTA had registered a total number of 290 institutions (BOTA, 2011).

However, accreditation goes beyond the registration and approval by BOTA and is done on the basis of the unit standards. In December 2010, BOTA had accredited 264 institutions, with a total of 2068 accredited programmes (BOTA, 2011).

Accredited Institutions by type

(Source: BOTA 2011)


  • ADEA (2011). Recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning, and NQFs: critical levels for lifelong learning and sustainable skills development – Comparative analysis of six African countries. Tunis: Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
  • BOTA (2010). BOTA Newsletter, Issue number 1. Gaborone: Botswana Training Authority.
  • BOTA (2011). Statistical Bulletin, Vol. 5 Number 3. Gaborone: Botswana Training Authority.
  • ILO (2010). Qualifications Frameworks: Implementation and Impact – Background case study on Botswana. Geneva: International Labour Organization.
  • ILO (2010). The implementation and impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: Report of a study in 16 countries. Geneva: International Labour Organization.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

A Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy was developed in 2009 to achieve Botswana’s long-term economic goals. BOTA and the TEC, along with the Manpower Planning Unit and the Labour Market Observatory, both located in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning but now seconded to HRDAC , will be rationalized to establish the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) and the qualifications framework. It is scheduled to come into operation after the Parliament has passed the relevant bills. “The HRDC will be at the apex of a number of strategic interventions designed to strengthen Botswana’s education and skills training system.” (Lute 2011)


  • Lute, A (2011) New Parastatal on the cards. The Botswana Gazette.

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7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+1.4 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
0.94 0.94
female male  
1.00 1.01
female male  

49.89 %

49.58 %

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC base on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)



5 468

7 403

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC base on World Bank database of World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC centres

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Further reading


  • AfDB - African Development Bank
  • BFTU - Botswana Federation of Trade Unions
  • BNVQ - Botswana National Vocational Qualifications
  • BNVQF - Botswana National Vocational Qualifications Framework
  • BOTA - Botswana Training Authority
  • BTEP - Botswana Technical Education Programme
  • DOSET - Department of Out-of-School Education
  • DTVET - Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • HRDC - Human Resource Development Council
  • MLHA - Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
  • MoE&SD - Ministry of Education and Skills Development
  • MTTC - Madirelo Training Testing Centre
  • SADC - Southern African Development Community

    Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
    Publication Date: 2012-11-10
    Validated by: Mr Matthews Phiri;
    Executive Coordinator;
    Botswana Training Authority (BOTA)

page date 2017-05-05

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