The quality of education is important for the country to continue its transformation into a modern market economy, according to the World Bank report titled “Public Expenditure Review (PER) of the Basic Education Sector in Botswana”.
This new report was jointly prepared by the World Bank, the Government of Botswana and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The Government team was led jointly by the Ministry of Basic Education and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The report is being presented today at the Avani Hotel, to a gathering of government officials, private sector representatives, civil society, academicians, researchers and youth. Quality education is essential in driving Botswana to become a knowledge based economy and high income country by 2036.
“The purpose of the PER is to review public education spending and evaluate its efficacy in providing good quality education to Botswana’s children to ensure that they have skills necessary to win gainful and productive employment”, said Patrick Kabuya, Acting World Bank Country Representative for Botswana. “The World Bank stands ready to support education sector reform, as it is one of the main elements to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity in Botswana.”
While the report clearly points to many Botswana’s advantages compared to other countries, including relatively favorable fiscal situation and favorable population projections in terms of demographic dividend, it also highlights challenges facing Botswana’s education system. Botswana’s spending on education is high compared to other countries at a similar level of development: 7.1 percent of GDP, or 22.2 percent of the government budget. However, one-third of the country’s education budget is allocated to tertiary education, thus spending on basic education is not overly high. In addition, Botswana’s basic education budget is largely spent on salaries and other recurrent costs, leaving little scope for capital spending.
“As you may be aware, the Ministry of Basic Education has not been able to implement the ETSSP within the planned period of 2015-2020 owing to funding limitation among other challenges, the state of infrastructure for education leaves a lot to be desired, hence I urge all participants to carefully listen to the presentations, findings and reflect on the as is situation, ponder on the recommendations, and together help chat the way forward on the transformation of education”, said Bridget John, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic Education.
“There is progress in early childhood education, leadership training, curriculum review among others, the implementation of the Multiple Pathways is planned for 2021.” Some of the core challenges facing Botswana’s education sector identified in the PER are: low student achievement scores; insufficient teacher training; fragmented decision making; insufficient data on education spending; and the absence of an efficient monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It is therefore, imperative that the Government of Botswana acts swiftly to ensure that the country’s public spending on its education system results in excellent learning outcomes.
To do this, the report identifies some priority reforms such as: (i) improve quality of education through improved teacher training, teacher recruitment, deployment and management; (ii) prioritize basic education spending to improve the efficiency and quality of basic education – address the shortages of textbooks and school infrastructure; (iii) improve management and evidence-based planning and decision making; and (iv) create budget process that makes it possible to prioritize among different categories of education spending.
“The participation of both the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Basic Education in this analysis indicates the seriousness with which Botswana takes basic education,” said Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF Representative. “UNICEF looks forward to the Ministries prioritizing spending on initiatives that deliver results for children.”
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.