- Early childhood care and education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Primary and secondary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
- Tertiary education (Entry/Establishment ○ Financial operation ○ Quality of teaching and learning ○ Equitable access ○ Quality assurance, monitoring and accountability)
The 1966 Education Act (last amended in 2003), which is the main legal document governing primary and secondary education sector in Botswana defines “private schools” as schools which are “not a government school or a local government school” and are managed by a “person or body of persons…proposing to be so responsible”. An “aided school” is defined as a “private school maintained wholly or partially by way of a recurrent grant out of public funds or the funds of any local council”. The Early Childhood Care and Education Policy 2001 refers to “non-government organizations and private individuals”, while Botswana Qualifications Authority Act 2013 defines as “education and training provider” as a “person or entity that provides or organizes a program of education and training, including the provision of professional development services”.
Most education at primary (7 years, ages 6-12), lower secondary (3 years, ages 13-15), and upper secondary (2 years, ages 16-18) levels in Botswana is provided by the state, with over 90% of total student enrolments at all levels. State schools (91% of all primary schools, 82% of all secondary schools) are managed by the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) or local education authorities and are accessible (with fee) to all children up to the lower secondary education level. To progress to the upper secondary education level, students are required to pass the Junior Certificate of Education. There is no section in the 1966 Constitution of Botswana or 1966 Education Act that directly guarantees the right to free education in Botswana, but according to the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) 2015-20 children in lower income groups usually receive free education at all education levels. State schools in Botswana are wholly or mainly secular (with all schools having the right provide religious instruction), while the official languages of instruction are English and Setswana. According to the ETSSP 2015-20, the MoESD recognizes the need to revise the language policy and adequately address mother tongue instruction.
Non-state managed, state schools
No information was found.
Non-state funded, state schools
No information was found.
Independent, non-state schools
Private schools in Botswana are for-profit, independent non-state schools owned, managed, and operated by individuals or private entities (companies) that are maintained through student fees (unaided by the state) and teach primarily in English Medium. Most private schools operate at secondary education level in Botswana (17% of all schools in 2017) and are required to follow the national curriculum or (at secondary level) a curriculum approved by the MoESD. There are also 41 international schools which follow international curriculum and examination systems such as International Baccalaureate and Cambridge. In 2017, private schools accounted for 8% of all schools and 7% of total enrolment at primary, and 17% of schools and 4% of total enrolment at secondary level.
State-funded (government-aided), non-state schools
Aided schools are a few private “mission schools” which are maintained wholly or partially through recurrent state grants or loans and are managed and operated by religious institutions (the Roman Catholic Church and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa) in partnership with the MoESD. Aided schools charge student fees similar to state schools, which are determined by the MoESD and are subject to regulations. The curriculum and syllabus followed by all aided schools is prescribed by the MoESD, while secondary aided schools are required to follow subjects that have been approved by the Minister and the Botswana Examinations Council. In 2017, aided schools only accounted for 1% of all schools and enrolments at primary/secondary level. Enrolment was 7% in primary and 4% in secondary education levels respectively.
Contracted, non-state schools
No information was found.
Homeschooling is legal in Botswana (although prevalence and regulation are not clear), as there is no specific law that requires parents to send their children to school.
During the COVID-19 school closures in March 2020, the Ministry of Basic Education issued a press release ordering the country-wide closure of all schools (state and private). During this period, education was delivered remotely through physical learning material, radio and television programs, and online platforms with available syllabus and curriculum.
Market contracted (Voucher schools)
No information was found.
While unregistered schools are not included in official government statistics, the government has closed down schools which were not legally registered (when found). In 2016, several illegal preschools were also shut down which failed to meet the registration requirements and relevant policy.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) oversees the education system for both state and non-state provision in Botswana (responsible for policy formulation, sector planning and evaluation), with governance being gradually decentralized to regional directorates and local education authorities, which are responsible for education operation in areas such as funding, regulation, registration, and quality assurance. Besides the MoESD, responsibilities for infrastructure development and learning resources are shared with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development at pre-primary and primary level, and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology at secondary level. The Preschool Development Committee is additionally responsible for pre-primary education, while the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Human Resource Development Council (which replaced the Tertiary Education Council in 2013), and Botswana Qualifications Authority are responsible for tertiary education provision and regulation in Botswana.
Vision: While there is no specific department responsible for non-state education in Botswana, the MoESD has issued several subsidiary laws at different education levels exclusively for the regulation of non-state education provision in the country, such as the Education (Private Primary Schools) Regulations 1991, the Education (Private Secondary School) Regulations 1967, and the Tertiary Education (Accreditation of Private Tertiary Institutions) Regulations 2008. Moreover, the MoESD strongly encourages non-state sector participation in the provision of education at all levels in the Education and Training Strategic Sector Plan (ETSSP) 2015-20 which aims to “strengthen public-private partnerships throughout the sector” and support the “private sector, NGOs and communities in planning, financing and delivering education”. According to the ETSSP 2015-20, “cost-sharing, which involves contribution and participation of students, parents, private sector and civil society in program development, financing and delivery enhances relevance, partnership, commitment...reduces the financial burden on governments. It also promotes a ‘culture of paying for services enjoyed’, which is fundamental in a private sector-led economy and for private sector growth”.
Early childhood care and education (ECCE), which broadly covers ages 0 – 6 in Botswana, is primarily provided by non-state actors such as private individuals or companies (68% of centres, 70% of total enrolments), communities (8% of centres, 7% of enrolments), religious organizations (7% of centres, 8% of enrolments), and NGOs (7% of centres, 7% of enrolments). Whereas the ECCE Policy 2001 initially categorized services into baby-care (ages 0–2), day-care/nurseries (ages 2–4), and pre-primary (ages 4–6), the new phase of policy development envisages only two age groups: 0 – 3, and 3 – 6. The coordination and supervision of ECCE services in Botswana is shared among the Preschool Development Committee (ages 0 – 4) and the MoESD (ages 4 – 6). According to the ETSSP 2015-20, the MoESD plans to introduce more state ECCE services, with steps being taken to include pre-primary education for ages 4 – 6 in state primary schools.
Registration and approval: Any “person, company or organization” that wishes to establish an ECCE service in Botswana is required to apply for registration at the relevant District Council, based on a prescribed form which includes details of infrastructure, staff-child ratios, program, equipment, and health and safety requirements. Applicants are not required to have basic training in childcare (only the means to establish a service) but must employ a trained individual to head the service. Service providers for pre-primary services are additionally required to be registered with the MoESD.
License: If satisfied that the applicant has fulfilled all the necessary criteria for establishment, the District Council may issue a conditional (valid for 90 days) or regular registration license (valid for one school calendar year) at an annual fee. Applicants that plan to establish a pre-primary service are required to be issued an additional registration certificate by the MoESD.
Profit-making: While no specific regulation was found regarding profit-making, the ECCE Policy 2001 allows “companies” to establish ECCE centres, indicating that a profit motive may be allowed.
Taxes and subsidies: According to the ECCE Policy 2001, the MoESD provides all ECCE centres with annual grants to cover operational costs and staff salaries, while all service providers have tax benefits.
Curriculum and education standards: The Preschool Development Committee is responsible for developing guidelines for the curriculum followed in baby-care centres, while the MoESD is responsible for developing a curriculum framework for day-care and pre-primary services. The curriculum framework for day-care and pre-primary must be guided by children’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development needs, and learning principles such as pre-reading, pre-writing, and pre-counting. The medium of instruction in all services must be applied flexibly based on the child’s social environment to enable children to better understand new concepts being introduced.
Teaching profession: All teachers and caregivers employed in ECCE centres are required to be registered with their District Councils and undergo formal childcare training. The Lobatse Day-care Training Centre is responsible for training caregivers for baby-care and day-care services, while the Colleges of Education train teachers for pre-primary services.
Fee-setting: ECCE services are free to determine their own fees, with the MoESD or District Council only authorized to intervene in cases of reported public grievances.
Admission selection and processes: The only reference to admission processes in the ECCE Policy 2001 is that no child is allowed to be admitted in an ECCE service in less favourable conditions (with the exception of services catered towards specific groups of children).
Policies for vulnerable groups: The ECCE Policy 2001 states that the MoESD should support orphan children and children with disabilities who are ready for day-care or pre-primary to go to integrated ECCE centres, without however specifying what this support would entail.
Reporting requirements: All ECCE centres are required to keep detailed records on child statistics, staff, equipment, documents of registration, meals served to children, and administration and management (to be inspected by the District Councils at any time).
Inspection: The monitoring and supervision of ECCE services is shared among the MoESD (responsible for developing guidelines) and the Ministry of Local Government, which is responsible for inspections. District Councils appoint inspectors to regularly carry out centre inspections and examine relevant documents and records.
Child assessment: No information was found.
Sanctions: If any centre is found to not comply with minimum standards, the license holder will be informed to comply within a specified time frame, which if not followed, their license will be suspended upon final decision of the District Council or MoESD. District Councils are additionally authorized to order the closure of a centre if it is deemed “illegal” and puts the health, safety or development of children at risk.
Registration and approval: According to the 1967 Education (Registration of Schools) Regulations (as amended in 1981), any application for the registration of a private school in Botswana must be made with the education officer or assistant education officer of the relevant district, city or township, which is responsible for submitting the form to the appropriate authorities at the MoESD. Applicants can be a “group of persons or a body corporate”, while all applications must be based on the prescribed form and accompanied by a sketch map of the school location and buildings, and a list of all staff to be employed and their qualifications. Any application to provide instruction above lower secondary education level must additionally include the proposed subjects of instruction and the reason for application to instruct at this level and meet the minimum standards (including classroom size and toilets separated by sex). Based on Section 13 of the 1966 Education Act, the Permanent Secretary is responsible for establishing and maintaining a register of all private schools and their classification (primary or secondary).
According to the Education Act no person shall own, manage or give regular instruction at a school unless that school is registered under section 13 of the Education Act. Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P500. For registration to be granted, the school should fulfil several conditions as specified in the Guidelines for registration of a school such as (a) the teaching and accommodation are or will be adequate to the class of school it purports to be; (b) the physical health and moral welfare of the pupils will be adequately provided for; and (c) the school will not be managed in a manner prejudicial to law and order. The Permanent Secretary shall register the school in respect of which application is made if he is satisfied. Yet, the Permanent Secretary shall not register a school (other than a school which was in existence immediately before the commencement of this Act, or a school established or to be established at its own expense by any religious community) if the Minister certifies in writing that the establishment of that school is not consistent with his policy for the promotion of education.
License: If satisfied that the application fulfils all the required standards, the Permanent Secretary (once informing the relevant local education authority) may issue a certificate of registration to the owner or manager of the school, which must be kept in the school’s records at all times.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH): The Permanent Secretary, with the approval of the Minister, may make regulations for health and safety to which the premises of every school shall conform, and such regulations may prescribe different requirements for different classifications of schools. All schools (state, aided, and private) are required to provide a minimum of 8 toilets for both students and staff separated by sex and sufficient water supply.
Profit-making: Profit-making is not prohibited in regulations, with schools only required to specify how much they expect to spend (from their recurrent income) on teacher salaries, non-teaching staff salaries, books, food, stationary, infrastructure, and equipment.
Taxes and subsidies: The state provides loans and grants to aided schools to cover operational costs, but no regulation was found on grants or subsidies to regular private schools (which are considered independent and unaided by the state).
Curriculum and education standards: All aided schools and private primary schools are required to follow the curriculum and syllabus prescribed by the Permanent Secretary, while the Board of Governors determines the subjects of instruction at private secondary schools (which are all subject to the Minister’s approval). In the case that a secondary school offers an international curriculum, it is required to attach a proof of accreditation from the relevant body.
Textbooks and learning materials: The Ministry specifies the textbooks and learning materials to be used in aided schools. Private schools are required to specify the books to be supplied to students upon registration.
Teaching profession: According to the 1966 Education Act (as amended in 2003), all teachers employed at any school (state, aided or private) must be approved by the Permanent Secretary or be members of the unified Teaching Service. Records must additionally be kept on the expenditure on teacher salaries in private schools. If the manager of any school contravenes this requirement, they will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to P300 (27.81 USD). In the case of aided schools, all teachers employed are additionally required to have obtained a university degree in a subject approved by the Permanent Secretary, and a teaching qualification such as a post-school teacher’s diploma or certificate. Teachers in aided schools (which have their salaries funded by the government) are additionally covered under the Public Service Act 2008 (similar to teachers in state schools).
Corporal punishment: Corporal punishment is lawful in all schools in Botswana, with specific regulations prescribed for the administration of corporal punishment in each school type and education level. Corporal punishment administered in private schools is regulated by the Education (Corporal Punishment) Regulations, 1968 and the Education (Private Primary Schools) Regulations 1991, which give the school headmaster or teacher (in presence of the headmaster) the authority to administer corporal punishment for “breach of good order or discipline” with a “light cane” and not exceeding 10 strokes (3 in the case of primary schools) on “palms, buttocks or the back of his legs” (for boys) and “palms and calves” (for girls). Corporal punishment in aided schools is regulated by the Education (Primary School) Regulations 1980 and the Education (Government and Aided Secondary Schools) Regulations 1978 where the headmaster, teacher, or person authorized by the Permanent Secretary may administer corporal punishment to students on “reasonable grounds” of up to five strokes with a light cane or strap. Every school is required to keep detailed records of the corporal punishment administered, while any person who contravenes the regulations may be liable upon conviction to fine up to P50 (4.63 USD) and/or imprisonment up to 3 months.
Other safety measures and COVID-19: During school re-openings in May 2020 following the COVID-19 national lockdown, the Ministry of Basic Education issued a press release urging all private schools to comply with national COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including social distancing, sufficient hand-washing facilities, and provision of appropriate protective equipment. Moreover, another press release was issued in April 2020 regarding School Fees in Private Schools During State of Emergency which ordered private schools to refrain from levying fees during remote learning which “does not sufficiently replace effective teaching and learning”.
Fee-setting: According to the Education Act (art. 25), the Minister may prescribe the fees which shall be charged in any Government school, local government school or aided school. The Minister may specifically prescribe fees for the instruction, special courses, accommodation (including boarding) provided for students, and books and materials supplied to students. In prescribing such fees, the Minister may- (a) fix different fees for different categories of persons, students or schools; (b) prescribe the circumstances in which fees may be refunded or remitted in whole or in part; (c) prescribe the time or date when any fees shall be payable, and the person to whom they shall be paid. While aided schools are only allowed to levy fees which have been prescribed by the Minister at different rates for different pupils, private schools in Botswana are free to determine their own fees. At primary level, the Permanent Secretary may only intervene if there is any complaint or public dissatisfaction with the fees levied, which, if not settled after the intervention, may be determined by the Permanent Secretary. At secondary level, the school fees levied are determined by the Board of Governors (which manage each school) subject to the approval of the MoESD. The Education (Private Secondary School) Regulations additionally state that any fees collected for specific purposes in private secondary schools (such as books or uniforms) are required to be used for their original purposes.
Admission selection and processes: While no regulation was found on the admission selection processes in private schools, the Education act (art. 29) stipulates that the Minister may make regulations on the conditions for admission to any school or schools and the conditions for expulsion or exclusion from schools. Private schools must inform the Minister on their admissions processes and any alteration of any qualification for admission to the school. The Education (Primary School) Regulations only mention that the Permanent Secretary may give aided schools specific directions regarding admission and enrolment (without however specifying what these may cover).
Policies for vulnerable groups: The ETSSP 2015-20 mentions that students belonging to lower income groups are provided with free education in Botswana, but no further information was found on how this is determined and to which schools it may apply. The sector plan additionally states that the country’s inclusive education policy will be implemented in both state and non-state schools.
School board: The control and management of each aided school and private secondary school in Botswana is through a Board of Governors which, in the case of aided schools, includes representatives from the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), local education authorities, parents of students, and other bodies or organizations. In the case of private secondary schools, members include the school manager (as Chairman of the Board), the District Commissioner (or representative), one local member of Parliament, one local authority representative, one person nominated by the Permanent Secretary, and 4 to 7 persons nominated by the local community. The school principal of each private secondary school shall be the Secretary of the Board, but not a member. No information was found on the school management of private primary schools.
Reporting requirements: All schools (irrespective of ownership) are required to keep records of the teachers employed, curriculum followed, student enrolment and attendance. Moreover, aided schools are required to keep up-to-date records of any school expenditure (including details on receipts, fees, donations, and salaries), which may be inspected at any time by the Permanent Secretary or local education authorities.
School inspection: According to the 1966 Education Act (as amended in 2003), the Permanent Secretary or local education authority may appoint an inspector to enter and inspect a private or aided school at any time (with or without notice) and make any copies of any records or documentation maintained in regard to fees levied, staff qualifications, curriculum, buildings, and school management. During the inspection, the school manager, principal, or staff are required to provide all relevant documents requested.
Student assessment: While no specific regulation was found regarding school examinations, the Education Act states that the MoESD may determine the conditions of any assessment held, as well as the fees payable for that assessment. The Education Act (Art. 29) notes that the Minister may make regulations on “the conditions of any examination held by or under the direction of the Ministry of Education and the fees payable in respect of any such examination”.
Diplomas and degrees: To be admitted to a private primary school, a birth certificate must be submitted to the school headteacher, while the Primary Leaving Examination certificate is required for admission to lower secondary. Private secondary schools may provide instruction for the Junior Secondary course (with no more than 3 streams), but if they wish to instruct students above lower secondary level, prior approval must be obtained by the Minister. If approved, these schools may provide instruction for the School Certificate (with no more than one stream in each form). The Botswana Qualifications Authority is responsible for approving all qualifications (state and non-state).
Sanctions: Any person who hinders or obstructs the inspection may be liable upon conviction to fine up to P500 (46.35 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months. Moreover, if the Minister is not satisfied that the school is being run in accordance with the relevant acts and regulations, he or she has the authority to order the school to be closed (which if not followed), the manager of the school will be liable upon conviction to a fine up to P500 (46.35 USD) and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months. According to the 1966 Education Act (as amended in 2003), if any person is found to be managing or operating a private school that has not been registered under Section 13 of the Act, they shall be liable upon conviction to a fine up to P500 (46.35 USD). Moreover it also set that if, as a result of an inspection under section 26, or otherwise, the Minister is satisfied that it is not in the public interest that a school or any part of a school should remain open, he may, by notice published in the Gazette, order that the school or the part of a school, as the case may be, be closed and the manager of the school shall forthwith give effect to that order.
Tertiary education is provided by state or private (non-state) institutions (universities and colleges), with the highest share of institutions (74%) and enrolments (66%) provided by the state. Private tertiary education institutions (TEIs) are established, managed, and operated by individuals or body corporates.
Registration and approval: Providers planning to establish a TEI (including higher education institutions and technical and vocational education and training institutions) are required to apply to the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) for registration and accreditation in accordance with the Botswana Qualifications Authority (Registration and Accreditation of Education and Training Providers) Regulations 2016 and quality assurance criteria and guidelines. Applicants must be body corporates legally constituted in Botswana such as a limited liability company, incorporated society, or a charitable trust, as stated in the BQA’s Quality Assurance Standard (QAS) 2: Criteria and Guidelines for Registration and Accreditation of Awarding Bodies 2018. All providers must meet the minimum standards in governance, vision and mission, ownership, legal status, quality management, physical resources, and safety, health and environment (among others) to be considered for registration and pay the required fees set in the Botswana Qualifications Authority (Fees) Regulations 2018.
License: If the BQA is satisfied that the provider meets the minimum requirements, the applicant is issued a certificate of registration and accreditation. This must be made visible within its premises, while the registration must be recorded with the Register within 30 working days. Certificates of registration and accreditation must be renewed within 10 years (Regulations 2016; QAS1 Higher Education).
Profit-making: Profit-making is not explicitly prohibited in the regulations, with providers allowed to be registered as limited liability companies (for-profit) or charitable organizations (non-profit).
Taxes and subsidies: No information was found.
Curriculum and education standards: All programs offered in registered TEIs must be accredited by the BQA in accordance with the Botswana Qualifications Authority (Accreditation of Learning Programs) Regulations 2016 and quality criteria. Providers must submit an application for the accreditation of their learning programs within a year of their registration, with accreditation lasting 10 years (and reviewed every 5 years).
Teaching profession: All TEIs must have a clear policy on the recruitment and selection of their academic staff, with provisions on complying with relevant legislation (labour laws) on working conditions. Staff must be qualified, at a minimum, with at least one degree higher than the one they teach (QAS2 Awarding Bodies).
Fee-setting: While fee-setting is not directly regulated, all providers must have a declaration to set up a trust fund or any other mechanism to protect student fees. There should be a policy in place on student withdrawal and refund to ensure that all students are fairly reimbursed if a course fails to meet program delivery requirements (QAS1 Higher Education).
Admission selection and processes: The BQA requires providers to have an admissions policy that includes provisions on equity and access to “uphold the fundamental entitlement of all learners”. TEIs must provide prospective students with detailed information on their entry and selection criteria and ensure that there are no barriers regarding disability, disadvantaged backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, religion, or race (QAS1 Higher Education).
Board: All providers must have their proposed governance structure approved upon registration, with detailed information on their governing board and duties (QAS2 Awarding Bodies).
Reporting requirements: The BQA requires all registered providers to submit annual reports in accordance with the Authority’s Annual Reporting Policy and based on a prescribed template (QAS1 Higher Education).
Inspection: The BQA is responsible for monitoring and auditing all registered and accredited TEIs at least midway through their registration and accreditation cycle (5 years) (Regulations 2016). The BQA additionally conducts unscheduled audits to investigate customer complaints.
The BQA also conducts unscheduled audits to investigate registered customer complaints.
Assessment: All TEIs are required to have a policy on student assessment and moderation that includes an assessment design, provision for re-assessment, re-assessment procedures, and internal and external moderation requirements (QAS2 Awarding Bodies).
Diplomas and degrees : Certificates must be designed in relation to each qualification and comply with the certificate requirements published by the BQA (QAS2 Awarding Bodies).
Sanctions: The BQA may revoke a registration and accreditation license when a provider fails to meet the minimum registration and accreditation requirements or fails to submit their annual report. If any person or entity operates a TEI without being registered and accredited in accordance with the regulations, withholds required information, or otherwise contravenes provisions in the regulations, they commit an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine and/or imprisonment (Regulations 2016).
Supplementary private tuition appears increasingly prevalent in Botswana, particularly in secondary education level, which based on SACMEQ data, has increased for Grade 6 pupils from 5.9% in 2007 to 35.5% in 2013.
No information was found.
No information was found.
According to General Provision 32 of the Public Service Act 2008, teachers employed in state schools and state-funded teachers in private schools are prohibited from “receiv(ing) and keep(ing), for his or her own use, any fee, reward or remuneration of any kind beyond his or her emoluments for the performance of any service for the Government unless specially authorized by law”.