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.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.