The government has hitherto spent over P160 million to upgrade teacher’s qualifications as part of its efforts to better the quality of education in the country.
The revelations were made by the Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mokgweetsi Masisi during the Botswana Teachers Day celebrations in Kasane last week.
Masisi said that there are currently 3 000 teachers undergoing training in different areas as part of government’s quest to improve the quality of education in schools. He also said that the initiative seeks to motivate the teachers.
“Of these teachers, 992 teachers are expected to complete their studies this calendar year. I also want to urge you as teachers to invest in your personal growth and enroll for fresher courses through distance learning where possible. Make learning a constant and lifelong process,” he said.
On the declining state of education, Masisi said that the low performance in school is a serious concern. He said for the past three years all results have been declining except for the 2013 Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) which registered a 2% increase. He called for conceited efforts from all stake-holders to ensure that the trend is reversed.
“To this end my ministry has introduced a number of initiatives to improve the students results such as, resuscitation of Parents Teachers Associations, Education Mentors, the readying of schools for learning and procurement of books and equipment for beginning of term Adopt a school and Education and Training Strategic Sector Plan,” he said.
He said that the Education and Training Strategic Sector Plan which is led by Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi is very crucial as it will help guide the prioritization, harmonization and resource allocation in delivery of the education sector. He said that for the previous financial year 2013/2014 critical flagships were identified and are being implemented.
“These include introduction of one reception classes in public schools, turnaround strategy for low performing schools at secondary level and the strengthening of the Technical and Vocational Education Training sector. The one year reception classes which were successfully piloted in the Kgalagadi Region have been rolled out to 120 primary schools nationally this year. Expect even more next year,” Masisi said.
The acting minister urged parents and the business community to join hands with teachers through Parents, Teachers Association and Education mentors for collaborative planning in order to improve academic performance in schools. He added that statistics have shown that where the three work together, positive results are achieved.
On a positive note, Masisi showered accolades on the teachers for persevering through the challenges that are currently be-devilling the education fraternity which include amongst others, high student-teacher ratios, lack of resources, limited maintenance of facilities, overstays especially in remote and urban areas, student discipline and poor results and the HIV/Aids scourge challenges.
He however said that government is working around the clock to combat the challenges faced by the teachers in schools so that they work in a favorable environment.
The Botswana Teachers Day Celebrations were held under the theme “Teacher Unity for Global Technological Changes of the 21st Century: A foundation for Quality Education”.