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P6 billion budget to cater for absorption of 3500 temporary teachers

Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao has revealed before parliament this week how his portion of the 2022/23 national budget will be split. The lawmaking house has approved the proposal.

The Ministry of Basic Education was allocated budget of 10.8 billion, with a slight increase of at least 0.47 percent of the 2021/22 budget; recurrent budget getting 91.3 percent of the whole budget which is P7.9 billion, while the development budget stands at 8.7 percent-an amount of P937 million.This was revealed during his Ministrys committee of supply speech.

As it stands, the largest portion (80.5 percent) of the recurrent budget is allocated to Personal Emoluments or wages, while 2.1 percent of the recurrent budget will go to subventions and parastatal. 17.5 percent is intended to run the operational costs of the Ministry, department, regional offices, schools, the welfare of the students including their feeding, procurement of their textbooks and payment of utilities.

The ministrys headquarters goes away with P996 million, of which 63.9 percent will be for staff salaries while 20.2 percent will cater for the operations of Botswana Examinations Council. The remaining 15.9 is scheduled for other operational costs of the department.

Out of School Education and Training is apportioned P73 million, a notable decline of 14.9 percent vis a vis the previous years budget of P 86 million, accounting to the fact that the departments budget for textbooks, food rations and hostels charges amounting to P13 million was transferred to department of Secondary Education. All this done to enhance service delivery in regions.

An amount of P23 million is apportioned for Curriculum Development and Evaluation. This connotes a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to the P24 million of last years budget.

Department of Teaching Services Management will receive P6 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent compared to one of last year. 99.2 percent of this portion will be for payments of teachers salaries and allowances. An increase that is attributable to the posts that the department was awarded, to convert 1 701 temporary teachers to permanent and pensionable teachers.

The intentions of the Ministry to absorb an additional 3500 temporary teachers, has seen the Department of Secondary Education stands on the brighter room of the house with an increase of 8. 3 percent of their previous budget.This translates to P1.9 billion.

Maintenance of school buildings, service charges, student textbooks, stationery, school feeding program will as well benefit from this portion.

A sum P36 million is set aside for the Department of Pre-Primary and Primary Education. This is 0.4 percent of the recurrent budget. 2022/23 financial year will find and number of mission under this department completed from the previous budget. This confirms the reason for the reduction in the budgets of these departments, from a P103 million of last year to P66 million this year.

Information Communication Technology and Media is apportioned a P17 million, connoting a slight decline of 4.7 percent vis a vis the previous year.On the other hand, the Department of Special Support Services will go away with a sum of P20 million, a 0.2 percent of the ministrys recurrent budget and a decrease of 3.8 percent compared to that of last year.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has made proclamations of transforming into a Knowledge-Based Economy, an economy that is driven by skills, research, science and technology in essence. Despite the commitment, the key driving department, a chief cornerstone, on this voyage is set to receive 0.1 percent of the ministrys recurrent budget. This translates to a sum of P11 million, noting a decrease of 2.7 percent from that of last year.

The development budget of this Ministry is set to run a number of projects namely Computerization, Consultancy Projects, Special Education Facilities, BEC transformation projectto mention but a few.

The desire to enhance teaching and learning through the use of technology an e-learning is the resultant vector of the Computerizaton project. This project will as such receive a total of P353 million, requested, for the completion of ongoing procurement of computer equipment for at least 182 Junior Secondary Schools. This budget will as well ensure the continuity of Schools Digitization Project. From this amount, P1 million is specifically for the Education Management Information System (EMIS).

The ministry has, under its development budget, categorized a number of projects as Consultation Projects. This includes in among them Psychometric Tests, Evaluation of Secondary School Curriculum and other ETSSP activities, Development of Special Education Policy, Learners Profiling and GECAF Implementation.

Psychometric Tests, funds are requested for procurement of a droll out of psychometric tests at national level. This procurement that is said to have taken longer than expected will now spill into 2022/23 financial year.

Evaluation of Secondary School Curriculum and other ETSSP activities will receive a sum of P10 million. Albeit the review of the Senior Secondary School Curriculum is completed, the bulk of the requested funds is to cover the capacity building to retool teachers for delivery of the new curriculum.

The ongoing development of theSpecial Education Policy is expected during the financial year of 2022/23. The requested funds of P300 000 are for final activities of this project as printing, capacity building and stakeholder engagements.

On the other side of the coin, a total of P3 million will be set for Learner Profiling. An exercise that paves the way for implementation of Outcome-Based Education. This critical to placement of learners in an educational path relevant to their capabilities.

A leading guide framework for the transformation of the national education landscape in the country, General Education Curriculum and Assessment Framework (GECAF) will receive a sum of P9 million. While Refurbishment of Curriculum Development and Evaluation Building will receive an amount of P10 million.

Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) Transformation Project will be apportioned a P20 million. The project is ongoing and main activities of it are facilities expansion, fleet acquisition and establishment of an integrated information system and replacement of obsolete ICT infrastructure.

A number of projects budding from Secondary Education were as well alluded to. The Electrification of Primary Schools that are outside the power grid will have a P5 million. This project is one of those planned for the NDP 11. The beneficiary villages will include in among them Sankoyo, Lepashe, Khwee, Losilakgpkong to name but a few.

Moeng College that bears one of the ETSSP pilot project will receive a sum of P24 million for its Multiple Pathway Project. This will assist the continuation of infrastructure development to enable a successful delivery of Multiple Pathway Curriculum. Whereas Mahupu Unified School will receive a sum of P1 million for closing of its final accounts.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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