The 2010 to 2013 Revision of the Geology Curriculum at the University of Botswana: Geoscience Education

The 2010 to 2013 Revision of the Geology Curriculum at the University of Botswana: Geoscience Education

Read Brown Mthanganyika Mapeo (University of Botswana, Botswana), Thebeyame Ronald Chaoka (University of Botswana, Botswana) and Joyce Gosata Maphanyane (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3440-2.ch010
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In this chapter, we describe the revision of the geology curriculum at the University of Botswana and show how it has improved the overall curriculum. One of the important outcomes of the revision was to ensure that prerequisite courses were enforced and students took courses in the proper sequence. This was hitherto not possible as students intending to take geology registered in year II which meant that to complete their degree programme in four years they took Level 100 and 200 geology courses concurrently. This system had a deleterious effect in that students found the geology curriculum very heavy and difficult on account of lack of sufficient background preparation. We believe the revision has resulted in a programme that is very competitive in the region and provides adequate preparation to our students to undertake post-graduate training in overseas and regional universities.
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The need for a Geology Department at the University of Botswana was recognized as soon as there was a realization that Botswana was endowed with many minerals such as diamonds, copper, nickel, gold and coal important for powering the nascent economy. This was important for the country to build up its human resources to provide critical skills in the economy. The broad areas required were mapping and exploration geologists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, etc. The initial curriculum was designed to reflect the circumstances of the times (Wendorff, Kampunzu, & Vink, 1999). It was vital for the geoscience students to appreciate and understand earth processes. The geology curriculum was designed in large part to provide a sound theoretical background and instilling appropriate technical skills. The University of Botswana provided students with knowledge on rocks and minerals as well as introducing them to new techniques. The students were equipped with the ability to produce geological maps and reports employing the techniques learnt in field-based courses. The graduates upon completion were employed by the government of Botswana and private sector companies in diverse fields such as mineral prospecting, mining, geological mapping utilizing geophysical techniques such as gravity, resistivity and seismic surveys, groundwater exploration and groundwater resources evaluation.

Figure 1.

Map of Botswana showing the location of Botswana in southern Africa, showing location of major towns in the south and the Trans-Kalahari Highway (A3)

(Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica-Accessed- 23/02/2016)


Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, is boarded by Namibia in the west and north, and has a minor boarder with Zambia in the north, the boarder with South Africa is in the south and southwest, and Zimbabwe in the northeast. Botswana is topographically flat, with the highest point of 1494 m (AMSL) marked by the Manyelanong Hills near Otse village in the south of the country. Botswana has an area of about 580, 0000 km2 with up to 70 percent of this territory characterised by a system of vegetated and active dune sands of the Kalahari Desert (Figure 1). It is a mid-sized country; roughly the size of Texas or France with just over 2 million people. Botswana has a low population density, and most of the people live on the eastern side of the country and about 10 percent of the population lives in Gaborone, the capital city. The economy of the country for many years has been dominated by mining, cattle rearing, and tourism. Botswana is a major diamond producer and boasts several world class mines (Orapa, Jwaneng, Letlhakane) which are owned jointly by the Botswana Government and De Beers Group of Companies. Botswana’s Orapa mine is the largest diamond mine in the world in terms of value and quantity of carats produced annually, while Jwaneng is home to the richest diamond mine in the world in regards to gem-quality diamonds produced.

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