Botswana OU: Gender policy and curriculum review

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The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), in partnership with the Botswana Open University (BOU), recently organised a workshop in Gaborone to build the capacity of academic administrators and staff to analyse the gender responsiveness of existing BOU policies and its curriculum.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Services, Professor Gbolagade Adekanmbi, acknowledged that the support of COL was timely as BOU plans to review its policies and programs in the coming months to align them with the theme of the 2023-2028 BOU strategic plan, ‘Towards an Inclusive Open University’. Professor Adekanmbi emphasised that BOU is committed to expanding access, diversifying its programs and courses, and democratising knowledge through innovative and visionary policies and practices.

The workshop attracted 18  academic administrators and 24 academic staff, including Dr Mmabeledi Seeletso, Director of the Southern African Development Community Centre for Distance Education (SADC-CDE) and COL Focal Point.

In her opening remarks, Professor Bantu Morolong, BOU’s Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Head of the Gender Mainstreaming Committee, hailed COL’s support for gender mainstreaming at BOU, which saw staff sensitised on gender issues, a situational analysis conducted and a roadmap to guide gender mainstreaming developed.

COL’s Guide to Gender Responsive Learning Materials Development and Learning Resources Gender Evaluation Rubric were used to evaluate three existing curricula for gender responsiveness. Participants found the materials “engaging” and “easy to use” and said they were excited to learn that the documents were open-access available. Staff will aim to spearhead reviews in their respective administrative sections and schools, with COL continuing to support further capacity building and the rewriting of policy and learning materials.

Dr Karen Nyangara, COL Adviser: Gender, noted, “Mainstreaming gender in policy and curriculum is a process that fosters equality of outcomes for all stakeholders.  The participation of BOU management is a demonstration of support and commitment to gender equality.”

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