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Botswana: World Bank Kicks off Discussion on Education, Learning and Skills

Publishing Date : 21 May, 2018

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The World Bank’s office in Botswana today convened development partners, private sector representatives, government officials, and education stakeholders to share and discuss the findings from the World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education's Promise.

The report highlights some alarming facts and warns of a learning crisis across the world. It states that, even after several years in school, millions of children are unable to read, write or do basic math. Without these skills, students around the world are being denied opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives while maximizing their contribution to national economic development.

Education remains one of the best investments that government and citizens can make and helps countries develop the human capital that will end extreme poverty. Without quality education, developing countries will continue to fall behind as they face an acute shortage of essential skills.

Those attending the meeting also had the opportunity to consider the report’s findings given the serious challenges facing Botswana’s education sector. Botswana’s secondary education system is presently generating too many graduates who do not possess the skills necessary to become productive members of Botswana’s economy. According to the latest data, 34 percent (87,000) of Botswana’s young graduates are presently unemployed. It is therefore critical that the Government of Botswana and other education stakeholders improve the quality of learning taking place in Botswana’s public schools to ensure the nation’s future economic competitiveness.

“One of the ways in which Botswana can reap the demographic dividend is through the provision of quality education and learning,” said Xavier Furtado, World Bank Country Representative for Botswana. “The World Bank is committed and ready to support reforms to the education sector so that Botswana can succeed in its transition to a knowledge-based economy and young Batswana have the skills necessary to lead successful and productive lives.” Relying on evidence gathered around the world, the report offers three policy recommendations:

First, assess learning, so it can become a measurable goal. Only half of all developing countries have metrics to measure learning at the end of primary and lower secondary school. Well-designed student assessments can help teachers guide students, improve system management, and focus society’s attention on learning. These measures can inform national policy choices, track progress, and shine a spotlight on children who are being left behind.

Second, make schools work for all children. Level the playing field by reducing stunting and promoting brain development through early nutrition and stimulation so children start school ready to learn. Attract highly capable people into teaching and keep them motivated by tailoring teacher training that is reinforced by mentors. Deploy technologies that help teachers teach to the level of the student, and strengthen school management, including principals.

Third, mobilize everyone who has a stake in learning. Use information and metrics to mobilize citizens, increase accountability, and create political will for education reform. Involve stakeholders, including the business community, in all stages of education reform, from design to implementation. “Education has the power to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity for all,” said Deon Filmer, World Bank Lead Economist and co-director of the report. “The findings from the World Development Report may make for disheartening reading, but it is meant as a wake-up call; we know that change is possible when countries and their leaders make learning for all a national priority.”



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