A decision by President Ian Khama to send cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries and their deputies across the country to compile an audit on the state of schools is now being used a stick by political rivals to beat Education Minister, Pelonomi Venson out of the presidential succession race. With the Ministry of Education in crisis, Venson has become a sitting duck for scheming colleagues who insist that she should take the fall. Some cabinet ministers have already started complaining that they are being made to clean up after the Education Minister, whom they blame for the crisis. Last week President Khama dispatched his entire cabinet across the country following the worst results ever that the country has produced.
Some members of cabinet have however turned president Khama’s assignment into a vote of no confidence on Venson, who is a contender for the position of Vice President and successor to Khama when the incumbent President retires at the end of his ten-year constitutionally mandated term.
Venson has however dismissed insinuations that she is being audited by her colleagues, saying that the President ordered other ministers to assist after it became clear that the extent of what needs to be done to turn the ministry of education around will have to be an effort of not just her ministry. I am not being audited. If you come to think of it the issues today dragging down education have a bearing on power, maintenance, water, human resource and management. If we are going to turn it around it is going to be a team effort.”
She said she welcomed the President’s intervention, not least because it will help expedite the process as all ministers were now under instruction to give a hand and even play their respective roles. The reason why I welcome the President’s initiative is that the results will come quicker. It is also important to me because with all of involved, we will all now understand and appreciate the extent of the problem rather than just being caught out when school results are bad,” she said. Ms Venson said for her part she has realized that many of the school heads are not good in management.
Many of them have been good teachers. They were promoted on that account. She has given each principal up to two years to prove they are up to the new challenges.
Those who do not cope will fall by the way side.“You swim or you sink,” she told The Sunday standard.“Success of education is highly reliant on management skills of head teachers,” she added. The creation of yet another ministry is not among her priorities. She said what is needed are new school libraries, new laboratories.