Starting in 2010, the School of Graduate Studies will launch a new breed of modular programmes in Botswana which addresses the need to provide life-long-learning opportunities for graduate students and professionals residential/employed outside Gaborone and to support their employing organisations nationwide. These programmes are based on the five principles which make up the MAGIC framework listed below.
Based on these principles, an Modular MBA will be launched in the second half of 2010. Recently, UB has been selected by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as one of 10 universities worldwide to receive significant financial support to create a new Master’s degree programme in Development Practice (MDP). Being chosen to receive this grant signifies the increasing global importance of sustainable development and acknowledges the multi-disciplinary competencies the University of Botswana has developed in this area. UB’s MDP program will provide an effective enabler towards Botswana’s Vision 2016 and beyond, and its modular delivery (to commence in August 2010 with 21 weeks of residential requirements over 2.5 years) means value-added convenient access for participants and organizations alike. Further programmes are in the planning stages. As indicated, all of these programmes conform to the following five principles:
Modular: The Programmes will be delivered in intensive block modules with limited residential requirements (1-3 weeks) per calendar quarter. This will provide life-long-learning opportunities for citizens residential and/or employed outside the wider Gaborone area. It will also boost support for organisations with regard to their staff development, recruitment and retention needs by enabling convenient access to UB programmes less time-consuming and less costly compared to academic competitors in the region.
Accredited: The programmes will fulfil the requirements of international accreditation bodies and, based on an initial self evaluation, a European accreditation agency will be asked to commence audits next year.
Globally appealing: The programmes will provide added value to international students and institutions. The factors for success are attractive and accredited courses delivered in a modular convenient manner. The MAGIC principles and ensuing programmes will provide these incentives for international partners and, in turn, generate revenue and/or study abroad opportunities for UB students via sustainable tit-for-tat agreements.
Interdisciplinary: The programmes will offer truly multi-disciplinary perspectives based on a broad range of related knowledge areas (e.g. Science and Research Management, Development Practice, Executive MBA, Executive MPA, Technology and Innovation Management), flexible pathways of learning and career-relevant academic exit qualifications (PG Certificate, PG Diploma, Master).
Compliant: The UB Strategic Priority Area ‘Intensifying Research Performance’ calls for increasing and enhancing student research training, in particular, in the areas of MPhil/PhD students to comprise a minimum of 300 enrolments by 2016. The associated learning outcomes of these objectives are well captured in regional and international qualification frameworks; a Task Group set up by the Government also works towards a National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCQF) for Botswana. Soon, any qualification will be classified and registered according to a set of nationally agreed standards/criteria for levels of learning/skills obtained. In order to anticipate the NCQF, the MAGIC principles comply with international qualification frameworks already in force and set a minimum 1,800 hour workload (including a 600 hour research project) for Master programmes. The compulsory Master theses also contribute to UB’s Strategic Priority Area ‘Providing Relevant and High Quality Programmes’ which calls for preparing students effectively for life, work and citizenship as well as improved learning, assessment and support to raise levels of graduate employability and work-related learning.