The North West Regional Education office is reported to be receiving hundreds of transfer requests from teachers from different schools within the region. Teachers in the Ngamiland District recently declared their intentions to abandon the district owing to poor working conditions.
At a recent Botswana Sectors of Educators and Trainers Union (BOSETU) meeting addressed by Member of Parliament for Maun West, Tawana Moremi teachers expressed concerns about the Ngamiland region. As parliament is set to start on 2nd of February, the Maun West MP has been engaging various stakeholders including unions and the informal sector to gather concerns and updates so he could share with parliament.
Teachers complained that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development has abandoned teachers based in the Ngamiland district. They indicated that when senior officials, including the Minister, are in the region they never create time to meet teachers to hear their concerns. They said officials only meet with the top brass of the region – who were labelled as ineffective hence the district continues to perform badly in the national examinations.
Also caught in the cross fire was the Director of the North West Educational Region, Acro News Maseko who was criticized for alleged mal-administration. Teachers called for an urgent removal from office of the director.
Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) secretary general, Ibo Kenosi supported the call to remove the Director. He blamed the director for the poor conditions teachers in the region are exposed to. Kenosi gave the example of poor accommodation of teachers. The BTU secretary general said the problems experienced in Ngamiland are a result of poor administration by the regional office and the government is not to blame.
Kenosi observed that Ngamiland will remain the worst performing region if the Ministry of Education and Skills Development does not urgently consider the removal of the director from office.
Teachers from within the district complained that the director has failed to address the many issues they have tabled before him over time. They labeled the director as an ignorant person who never takes urgent matters seriously.
The Ngamiland educators warned that they can no longer tolerate the mal-administration. Some shared that despite the Ministry’s policy which explains that a teacher can apply for transfer only after a period of five years stay in a school, they requests have been ignored despite completing five years stay at the district. Some have decided to forward their applications for transfers to headmasters. They explained that if their transfers are not successful they will be forced to leave the teaching profession. Some have already been rejected on the grounds that the Ministry has temporarily suspended transfers.
Ngamiland teachers complain that the Ministry decided to freeze transfers only after realizing that teachers are leaving Ngamiland in large numbers.
Both BOSETU and BTU believe that both the education system and teacher’s welfare in Ngamiland are neglected.
Accommodation of teachers is said to be a perennial problem in Ngamiland. In addition, Ngamiland has also realized a growth in population growing and this has led to a sharp increase in the number of students enrolling in schools.
Teachers complain that these development variables are not being considered by the Ministry of Education because there are only a few schools to accommodate these students. Teachers observe that this has led to an imbalance in student/teacher ratio. According to Ngamiland teachers, they are forced to teach classes of about 40 to 50 students.
BOSETU and BTU also expressed disappointment that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development has abandoned special education learners in Ngamiland. They indicated that despite Maun Senior School enrolling special education students (deaf), it has been 10 years since the school was supplied with proper specialized teaching equipment for the students.
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.
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.”
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.