As the nation is still trying to find answers as to why there is a decline in student performances in the last decade, a researcher with the Vision 2016 Council, Dr Pelotshweu Moepeng has indicated that there is a “statistical association” between the increase of male teachers in primary schools and the declining performance levels.
While he pointed out that there was need to do further research to establish the link or coincidence, he did indicate that it was a matter worth noting. He said the nation was concerned with the decline in students’ performances, but there is need for a thorough research on pointers linking to the deplorable performances in schools.
According to Moepeng, there is growing statistical evidence on poor performance and a number of variables associated with the education sector. His analysis using the response measure of pass rate was delivered at the Vision 2016 Conference held under the theme: The Journey So Far: In Pursuit of Prosperity For All by 2016. The country will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year when the curtains will be falling on a roadmap marked in 1996 by former President Sir Ketumile Masire.
“Using several independent variables an analysis was made to examine any predictors of the declining pass rate. The number of schools, and the number of untrained female teachers are also significantly associated with the declining pass rate,” said the former Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) researcher, now with the Vision Council, Moepeng.
He said such findings may suggest a declining quality of outcome as the number of students increase and untrained staff is used to keep up staffing of larger pupil numbers. “We need more detailed study of differences between results in different primary schools and reasons for these,” he said.
Sharing the validity of the causal link, Moepeng pointed out that the increase in number of male teachers was at 95 percent confidence level. This, he explained it shows that there is greater link between decline in results and increase in the number of male teachers.
The confidence level was high for untrained teachers, at 99 percent. He said the statistics link the increase of untrained male and female teachers to the drop in performance of students. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has occasionally roped in temporary teachers, most without relevant qualifications to teach students while vacancies are not yet filled by trained teachers.
Moepeng further shared that the gender balance for teachers was largely female until 1999. The number of male teachers was less than 100 in 1975 while there were over 250 female teachers. In 1997 the number of male teachers jumped to almost 350 while that of females was just over 600.
In 1999, the number of female teachers dropped to just below 600, and the number of male teachers increased to over 450, this is the same period that the student pass rates started declining. The desktop research has also directly linked underperforming classes to young male teachers.
Moepeng said policies requiring attention to quality could become a focus such as supporting training on the job or mentoring of staff on continuous basis. He added that defining performance measures that are required as a time series which should be simple but reflective of situations in primary through to tertiary education; and also reflect the need for home grown skills and particularly in the tertiary sector. He said they should also reflect the capacity for providing skills and particularly in the tertiary sector.
He cited that the case where there is significant statistical association between increased school numbers and declining quality of education needs further examination. “Some factors might include school location, quality of school heads, equipment in schools, and roles of teachers such as where they spend their time most – in workshops or classrooms, in industrial action or in classrooms?”
Moepeng said there is need to undertake a more detailed study of differences between results in different primary schools and establish the reasons for the disparities. He said there is need to provide extra financial assistance to schools in disadvantaged areas to enable them to obtain adequate learning material. â€¨â€¨
He gave the example that schools could be provided with centrally prepared online or DVD material for use by teachers in areas that are disadvantaged. He also called on the civil society to be involved to address the problem of out of school children. He indicated that government alone cannot solve the challenge of out of school children, “it is more complex, NGOs could help,” he said.
According to Moepeng, by 2002 girls made up over half the enrollments in both primary and secondary schools. He indicated that progression of students through education over time was at its lowest in 1998 and at its peak in the years between 2006 and 2009, but declined and steadied between 2009 and 2012.
According to the researcher, the pass rates for standard seven in primary schools was 72 percent in 1984, rising to 82 percent in 1999 and dropping to 65 percent in 2012. He shared that the decline was consistent across all levels of education.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.