The Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) has been formed to improve access to learning opportunities on a nationwide scale for the out of school young adults. Open learning seeks to break down the barriers to personal development by providing flexible learning environments, enabling people to study what is relevant to their needs, at a time and place convenient to them. The learners learn from specially designed study materials, which use a combination of different types of media, methods and communication technologies, rather than through direct face-to-face mode of instruction as in conventional schools. In this way distance education allows them to study at home or in their workplace, at their own pace without having to leave their families or job commitments. Through its school equivalency programmes BOCODOL continues to bridge the education gap between various sections of the Botswana population structure. Informed by market surveys that are undertaken from time to time, the College has developed certificate level vocational management and professional programmes.
The college is also faced with the task of broadening types of courses it offers to include vocational, professional management and other programmes. Through collaboration with other regional open and distance learning institutions, BOCODOL has ventured into higher education. It has, started offering two diploma level programmes. The College has instituted plans to increase and diversify higher education programmes.
BOCODOL was created by an Act of Parliament in December 1998. Its creation marked a milestone in the development of Education for Botswana and a significant step towards realising Botswana’s Vision 2016, which emphasises the elimination of poverty through the provision of knowledge and skills.
The case for establishing a semi-autonomous distance teaching college was made by the National Commission on Education in 1993 (Recommendation number 87). This recommendation was approved by the National Assembly in April 1994 as part of the Revised National Policy on Education. A number of consultancies were carried out to assist in preliminary planning for the new College.
Today, the College has, in addition to its Headquarters in Gaborone, five Regional offices in Gaborone, Francistown, Palapye, Maun and Kang that operate through study centres country-wide.
The vision statement captures the institution’s “desired future position” and provides a picture of what success will look like when the strategy has been realised, as defined below:
“Inspired Excellence and Empowered Learnersfor Life-Long Learning”
The mission is a brief statement that defines why the institution exists. It describes the fundamental purpose and the unmet needs fulfilled for customers, as follows:
“To Create a Unique Learning Environment for Learners to Realise Their Potential Through Diverse, Innovative and Flexible Products and Services for Global Competitiveness”
The core values represent the attitudes, behaviours and characters that will create an enabling environment for the successful implementation of the strategy as identified below:
- Research and Scholarship