The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa. It is bordered by South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The population is 1,842,323 and the literacy rate is 81.2%. English and Setswana (also written as Tswana) are the official languages.
Hunters and gatherers in present-day Botswana can be traced back to 1700 BC. Until the area became part of the British Bechuanaland Protectorate on March 31, 1885, many tribes and people arrived in the area and ruled. The Bechuanaland Protectorate included present-day Botswana and part of the northwest province of South Africa. Botswana was granted independence from the United Kingdom on September 30, 1966.
Education in Botswana is free and compulsory from ages 7 to 15. Currently, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development oversees all levels of education and the Botswana Qualifications Authority serves as the country's recognition body.
Primary school is 7 years and students are awarded a Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC) upon completion. Lower secondary school is 3 years; at the end of the third year, students sit for the Junior Certificate Examination (JCE).
Following lower secondary school, academic secondary school is 2 years; at the end of the second year, students sit for the Botswana General Certificate of Education examination. Students also have the option of continuing in vocational/technical or academic upper secondary school. Vocational and technical programs are offered the Botswana Technical Education Program (BTEP). There is a one-year Diploma, a 3-year National Craft Certificate, and a 3-year BTEP Certificate.
Post-secondary programs are offered at teacher training colleges, the Botswana College of Agriculture, and the University of Botswana. First-level university programs are 4 years and students are awarded a Bachelor of Arts, Education, Law, Social Work, or Library and Information Studies, depending on the field of study.
Second and Third Cycles
Students who wish to study medicine must complete a 2-year pre-medical program at the University of Botswana and then transfer to a partner medical school at several universities in South Africa and Australia.
The University of Botswana offers graduate and doctoral programs. Postgraduate diploma programs are 1 year, and Master's programs are 2 years. Both degrees require a Bachelor's degree with an overall average of at least 65% in a relevant field for admission. Doctoral programs require at least 3 years of coursework and research, and following successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.
Primary and lower secondary school teachers are trained in 3-year programs at teacher training colleges. Students must hold a Botswana General Certificate of Education to be admitted. Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded a Diploma in Primary Education or a Diploma in Secondary Education, depending on the program of study. Upper secondary school teachers must hold a Bachelor's degree.