For once, a school examinations season without incident!
by The Telegraph Commentary
Yet again Botswana is entering the examinations period.
Perhaps as a present to the thousands of young Batswana who will be entering academic halls to sit for examinations this year, Botswana examinations Council announced that professor Brian Mokopakgosi had been appointed the Executive Secretary of the examination body.
We welcome Professor Mokopakgosi and hope that he will find his time at BEC fulfilling.
We can confidently tell him that this an institution he will very soon see has no shortage of challenges; a demoralized and somewhat rude and unruly staff compliment, chaotic organizational systems, a lack of clear command lines and a hangover of a past underline by immensely difficult relations with government.
While BEC has been in existence for some time now, Professor Mokopakgosi will soon find out that this is by all accounts a dysfunctional organization with no systems and controls in place.
He is inheriting a poisoned chalice and may do well to brace himself for possible confrontations, not least by members of staff who are used to doing things their own way and at their own pace.
We call on Professor Mokopakgosi to crack the whip, introduce organizational reforms including, we dare say sack those masterminding the resistance.
As long as the changes he brings about are meant to enhance customer service and put examinations as the centerpiece of the organization, Professor Mokopakgosi can count on our unconditional support going forward.
BEC has for far too long lacked imaginative leadership. We have on a number of occasions questioned the strength of the Board to give strategic guidance to the executive, while also vociferously doubting the depth of the executive.
Relations with government, especially the Minster of education have not helped the situation.
It was only a matter of time before the CEO left – and she did.
We have no reason to celebrate Dr. Moahi’s departure, but we are of the firm view that it was overall in her interest.
She often came across as out of depth, if not altogether drowning.
The integrity of Botswana’s education system has suffered enough over the last four years.
Given the frequency, rapidity, scale and gravity of the troubles the system has had to go through, we are of the view that it will take almost a generation before it recovers.
And BEC has been a central component responsible for the decay.
The other components included trade unions and of course Government as the employer.
For many schools the culture of learning has been eroded entirely.
Many pupils and students have lost reason why they come to school every morning.
Teachers have often been of very little help, if at all.
Re-establishing a culture of learning will require a lot of collective efforts.
BEC has to play its bit, and we can only encourage Professor Mokopakgosi to steer it to that direction.
The integrity of the country’s examination system is at stake.
The same goes for the results that come out of that system.
If this situation is not corrected very soon the world will look at our products and indeed our certificates askance.
In the meantime, it is not an exaggeration to say that the children who as a result of the chaos have escaped through the cracks may indeed never be recovered.
They will join the ranks of a hopeless generation that is resentful, bitter and unwilling to play a meaningful role in their community.
BEC has to stem the tide.
The task could not have been cut any clearer for Professor Mokopakgosi.