There are over 30 institutions of higher education in Botswana out of which 21 are public. Organised into colleges, universities, medical schools or institutes, Botswana’s tertiary education is now a priority of the government. The implementation of the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) is meant to transform the education system based on a number of factors: access, equity, quality, inclusion and governance. Considering the fact that the country has been amongst one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the strategy is coming into effect quickly. One thing is that there has been a significant increase in the enrolment of students in universities – a change of 57.1% in less than 10 years where there are currently 53,450 students enrolled. Also, University of Botswana became the most renowned institution in the country and is within top 30 African universities. For further information the Ministry of Education’s website is available at http://www.gov.bw/en/Ministries--Authorities/Ministries/Ministry-of-Education-and-Skills-Development/.
Courses are offered at all cycles: Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD. Tertiary education is Botswana is similar with the British and American models and has features from both of them. Undergraduate studies can last between three to four year after which students are awarded a BSc or BA, although in recent years other more specialised degrees have been introduced. Postgraduate Master’s degrees can last between one to two years, depending on the course. Medicine and related studies are generally organised as Integrated Master’s and students can pursue a PhD right after graduation. Lastly, doctoral studies take at least three years to complete. The academic year has two semesters which last from August to December and from January to May, each of them with an exam period at the end. The official language of the country is English, and most courses are taught in that.
The application process is individually set by each institution. This can happen either online or personally where applicants must send their documents to the respective institution. Generally, students must have proof of finished secondary education if they wish to apply for a Bachelor’s degree. International students should assure that they meet the immigration requirements of Botswana before they decide to apply, which can be found on universities’ websites. Proficiency of language will also be required. Admission to postgraduate studies is subject to proof of a Bachelor’s degree, in the case of application to a Master’s, or proof of a Master’s degree, in the case of application to a PhD. Other forms of assessment might be required such as entry exams, interviews, portfolios or practical work, depending on the subject.
The cost of studies differs from course to course and university to university. Generally, resident students can expect to pay between $2,564 - $3,773 per annum for undergraduate studies, between $2,378 - $3,448 for a Master and between $938 - $1200 for a PhD. For non-resident students prices are almost double than that. Students can benefit from financial support through scholarships (some of which can be viewed here).
Information for International Students
In terms of living costs, Botswana is a really affordable country. Overall, it is 41.65% less expensive there than in the UK and rent prices are 65% lower. Renting an 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is approximately $300 per month, but universities can offer you accommodation. Although Botswana is struggling with the organisation of the education system, efforts made to improve it are visible. The country can represent a great opportunity to study in a multicultural environment at an affordable price.