Government will consider implementing recommendations of the 1993 Kedikilwe Education Commission, 21 years after they were tabled. Richard Mathare, an official of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, recently told the public accounts committee (PAC) hearing that government intends to resolve the problem of high teacher-students ratio, which has contributed to declining examination results. He added that currently the teacher-students ratio ranges from 45 to 50 students per teacher in a class.
“The ministry is aware that this problem has contributed to declining results in Botswana,” he said.
He added that the ministry intends to reduce the number from 50 students to 30 students per teacher in a classroom. Matlhare emphasized that there is need to reduce the number of students per teacher so that teachers can interact more with students and give them assistance during learning.
This is in line with the Kedikilwe Education Commission of 1993, which had recommended that there is a need to reduce the number of students per teacher. When responding to the latest developments, Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, said Matlhare’s announcement is proof that government has run out of ideas and has dismally failed both teachers and students.
He said it is disappointing that government is only coming to its senses now, when the issue of teacher-students ratio has been in the public domain for so long.
“All along they have been failing to reduce the number of students per teacher in class despite our repeated appeals. They were all along reluctant to implement the recommendations of the Kedikilwe Commission, despite pleas from trade unions,” said Rari.
He added that their belated admission shows that clearly government officials are sleeping on the job. Rari also challenged Matlhare to tell the nation exactly what he was going to do to address the problem of high teacher-students ratio.