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BIUST, MOBE graduate 291 under ICT Teacher Training Programme

Two hundred and ninety-one (291) teachers and administrators who enrolled in government’s ICT Teacher Training Programme, COMP 101, graduated at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) campus on Tuesday this week.

The programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE), the Botswana Schools ICT Association (BoSICTA) and BIUST. The teachers, who were trained on computer basics, were the second cohort to graduate under the programme. Government, through the Basic Education Ministry has embarked on nationwide ICT infrastructure development and in the same breadth, improvement of ICT literacy in all government schools, from Primary, Junior to Secondary schools. A group of Computer Awareness and Computer studies teachers who were keen to deliver in that regard founded BoSICTA, and eventually knocked at the doors of BIUST to help them deliver in that mandate.

A partnership was formed and BIUST would train Trainers who would later train the teachers and administrators, some of which graduated this week. Giving an overview of the initiative, Mmamosetsana Maposa, a representative from the Ministry’s Central District office, said the ministry had set for itself high standards to improve quality of Education by making full use of Information and Communication technology. We have since set our motto to “Discovering the 21st  century leaner”. We want educators who can produce learners who can fit anywhere in the world.”

She continued: “To realise this dream, the Ministry has since embarked on nation-wide ICT infrastructure development. Schools are being supplied with tablets to add on to desktop computers that have been supplied before. Efforts are being made to improve access to Internet connectivity. We have since introduced draft computer Awareness syllabus in Primary Schools. All levels of our Basic Education offer computer Awareness and Computer Studies is also offered in Senior Schools as an optional subject.”

So far, she added all syllabi in Secondary Schools have Infused ICT skills, as it is an emerging issue. BIUST, she said, had offered them timely support and there is growing hope that all teachers would be able to deliver their syllabus fully. Maposa said that so far, five regions, being Mahalapye, Palapye, Serowe, Bobonong and Tonota sub-region had graduated under the programme. “Our target is to reach at least 15 teachers in all schools in our remaining 3 sub-regions.”

Giving the keynote address, Managing Director of Dimension Data, Duncan Pie said the initiative was a welcome one, particularly in the 21st century. “You are well positioned to be 21st century teachers and citizens. In this era of Artificial Intelligence computer skills are a basic right.  One thing about teachers is they are resourceful and very good planners, now with the added computer knowledge I expect efficiency in our curriculum administration and delivery.” Pie encouraged the graduates to share their acquired knowledge and skills with other colleagues and students.

BoSICTA President, Kobamelo Mogampane said what the association does in schools as agents of Information Technology is paramount to success of all schools in the 21st century. “Our successes and achievements will always be measured by the ability of our schools to shift from traditional method of curriculum delivery which is based on chalk board, and teacher as the source of all information, to where learning is more student centred, where we have the ability to develop creative thinkers.” He said that it is important for teachers to take advantage of the digital world, which brings with it a constant stream of information.

BIUST Vice Chancellor, Prof Otlogetswe Totolo said that it was only right that BIUST as the leading university in science, engineering and ICT training be involved in the initiative. He said the knowledge acquired would help teachers improve on education delivery and its management. “ICT and its integration in education can help in building an inlusive knowledge society for all.

He added: “ICT is seen as an important catalyst and accelerator for development, having the ability to attract investment, create jobs, promote knowledge building and sharing, facilities innovation and contribute to good governance and more importantly efficient and transparent provision of services.” BoSICTA was founded in 2013 and began a relationship with BIUST a few years later, where the university trained teachers and their trainers under the initiative.

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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