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Gov’t wasting billions on education – Boko


Leader of Opposition in Parliament Duma Boko has said that the education crisis facing the country is not simply a matter of education budget but a number of key factors which the government has continued to overlook.


Presenting a special statement on the 2014 Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examination result this week, Boko said it is disturbing that the country has been experiencing a decline in BGCSE results yet there were no serious measures taken to address the situation. “Pass rates below 50% are unacceptable in a country in which more than two-thirds of the annual budget goes to education, with the public investing so much in education surely better returns on this investment are expected,” he said.


Boko argued that throwing money at the problems and taking pride in the amount that government has spent in education does not help to solve the crisis until all the challenges are aggressively addressed. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) was allocated P10.3 billion this year, a slight increase from last year’s P9.8 billion.  


 Boko said declining performance in the education system has far reaching implications for the country in the sense that the country may not be able to produce human resource robust enough to drive economic development. “Cyclical crisis in our education means we need to confront challenges in our education system aggressively and systematically,” he said.


The leader of opposition also said schools are not empowered to make their own decisions and budget for some of their basic needs, further adding that management at schools was not geared towards driving a vision that is shared at the lowest by the teachers. “School management does not utilize or deploy teachers effectively and the top down transfer and redeployment approach by the Ministry of Education frustrates efforts to build effective teams in the schools, school management is highly centralised,” Boko argued.


Boko, who is Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington North observed that unless government makes up with unions representing teachers, the show of poor results would continue. “The never ending tug-of-war and conflict between teachers and Government must give way to a harmonious relationship forged on mutual respect,” he noted.


Boko stated that although problems emanating from working conditions, working hours, housing and other non-monetary incentives rarely afford perfect solutions, Government can offer the requisite soundness and seriousness to instil or restore confidence among teachers. “Teachers need to enjoy their profession and derive satisfaction in order to offer their very best,” he said.


The leader of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) noted that International educational benchmarking by organizations such as UNESCO, shows that Botswana is particularly poor at primary school level, the preparation ground for secondary schooling. “We will not be able to fix the poor result at secondary school level until we significantly enhance facilities, teaching quality and school management at the primary school levels,” he argued.


Boko called for change in approach towards school teaching and noted that laboratories, computers and other related facilities are underutilised. Boko’s observation is that the use of laboratories and libraries is regarded more to be a ritual for passing examinations than as an enriching environments for engaging the mind, and developing skills. “We need to change mindsets in schools and cultivate them as centres where students and teachers alike can engage their intellect, nurture their understanding of various disciplines and develop skills,” he contended.  


Boko challenged Government’s teaching approach and stated that students are largely measured and assessed on narrow definitions of content or knowledge and not on skill development or on creativity. He said Government needs to accommodate the input of teachers and industry in the curriculum and also further develop an integrated frame work on how to implement such a curriculum effectively toward the desired outcomes with all stakeholders and their wholesome roles.


Boko, a former University of Botswana academic, said Botswana needs to learn to appoint best leaders at all levels, including Ministerial levels, to ensure that a culture of meritocracy is carried through the education system. “The destiny of our people is tied and riveted to the seriousness with which we adopt, as our own, the idea of excellence,” he stated.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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