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D 11 mars 2011     H 16:31     A Botswana National Front     C 0 messages

The Botswana National Front (BNF) wishes to congratulate all those who have made it in the Junior Certificate (JC) final examinations. You have not only done yourselves proud but your families, teachers and Batswana at large. We would like to say to those who did not make it not to lose hope but continue to upgrade their qualifications. As a party we are aware that you were writing examinations in one of the most adverse of conditions.The delay in releasing the results best explains the chaotic environment under which examinations were administered. With the teachers having boycotted invigilation because of poor remuneration, the examinations were overseen by people who we can not say were proper and fit to oversee such a process.

The delay is releasing the results explains the chaotic environment under which examinations were administered.

The fact that the JC pass rate has dropped by 0.4% from the 2009 results, is a clear sign of failure on the part of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government. The drop in the pass mark is cause for concern. We believe that drastic measures need to be taken to improve the situation as a matter of urgency, as this has long term negative impact on the skills required in the country.

We call upon the BDP government to distribute national resources equally throughout the country. It is quite clear that schools in developed parts of the country perform better that those in the less developed parts. Spreading developments equitably will ensure that schools in less developed areas are able to compete at the same level as those in the developed areas. Distribution of resources is still skewed in favour of the South Central, North and Central regions. No wonder the schools in those regions performed above the national average of 74%. The lack of facilities does not make other areas attractive when it comes to staffing. The morale of the teachers in those areas is low.

A special incentive has to be introduced to lure qualified and experienced teachers to the less developed areas. Our view is that you cannot compare oranges with apples and expect the same results. No amount of apology can justify the deliberate sidelining of the learners from the remote areas. This means that the education system is producing more failures in certain parts of the country. This has long term implications for poverty and development as education is acknowledged as a tool to fight poverty. In years to come you will find more poor people in the areas that have underperformed compared to those that did well.

One other interesting observation we have made is that students in private schools perform much better than those in government schools. This has to do with teacher-student ratio, better facilities for teachers and students, relatively higher moral level for teachers in private schools etc. Last year out of 44 students who got merit, 11 were from private schools yet they constitute only a small portion of the total number of students who set for examinations. Sixteen years down the line, we are still waiting for the full implementation of the 1995 Kedikilwe Commission recommendations which we had hoped will help resolve this imbalance. What is now happening is that the poor will remain trapped in poverty as they can not assess quality education which is available in private schools because it does not come cheap.

Education is a nation’s cornerstone, therefore it needs all of us to join hands together, as we start this academic year of 2011. We call upon all ; parents, brothers and sisters, our educators and every stakeholder and role player to move in unison. Of course this will all be in vain if the government does not seriously engage the teachers now and address their grievances. We need to appreciate the role that teachers play in the building of our nation and reward them fairly. The issue of facilities in government schools has to be tackled urgently. Teaching still takes place in classrooms that have no doors and windows.

The delay is releasing the results explains the chaotic environment under which examinations were administered.
We call upon the intransigent BDP government to apologise to the nation about the conundrum that ensued during the examination period last year. Surely the nation deserves better. But what can one expect from a government that believes in ensuring that only a few get education and move out of poverty ?

Moeti Mohwasa
BNF Information and Publicity Secretary