Following reports that former Minister of Education, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has finally admitted that she failed the nation, I decided reproduce, below, an article I wrote back in January 21, 2013 where I diagnosed her failures. I was vindicated last week.
At the rate our education system continues to fail our children, I would not be surprised to hear that a fed up parent has walked into the minister’s office and given her a hot slap across the face.
In fact, a ‘kaffir clap’ on the minister’s face would not be that drastic when compared to other scenarios that could occur due to the disappointment and frustration suffered by the students at the hands of Venson-Moitoi.
I mean, we already hear of harrowing stories where students have committed suicide after failing in their examinations and we can only pray and hope such suicidal students do not develop dangerous ideas before they take their own lives. I dread a situation where students would, prior to committing suicide; decide to settle scores with those who are responsible for their poor showing at the examinations.
I have been following comments by various stakeholders in the wake of the history made by Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi as the first minister to ever produce such pathetic results in the history of examinations in the country.
By failing so dismally, Venson-Moitoi has now elevated all her predecessors to the status of high performers. Jacob Nkate can now proudly look back and say: At least I was far much better than Venson-Moitoi. And so true Pelo, Jakes is looking pretty good at this rate.
You know, failure is always depressingly painful. Failure is embarrassingly hurtful and that is why students commit suicide. They cannot face the world with such despicable academic performance. So really, I’m shocked that despite her shameful failure, Venson-Moitoi hasn’t become suicidal. She has instead turned arrogant and wants to pass the blame on to other people. Pelonomi can’t be serious!
I see a lot of commentators are being diplomatic and shy away from putting the blame squarely on the minister’s lap. Some people are saying this is not the time for blame games. Look, blame games only happen when you have no clear culprit. Unless the situation is confusing, there is no need to pass the blame around when there is only one person to take that blame.
I only know of one minister responsible for the education sector in Botswana. Venson-Moitoi is that minister and as such she is the only one who has to take the blame. I’m shocked that Venson-Moitoi feels it is unfair of us to blame her for the poor performance of students. Her attitude and behaviour towards the just released Junior Certificate results is so disappointing. Actually it’s sickening.
Look, it doesn’t matter how many reasons the minister advances to exonerate herself. The truth is, as the political head at the ministry, the buck stops with her. It is therefore shocking that instead of being the first one to step up and address parents, students and the nation on this examination disaster, Pelonomi has the nerve to try and absolve herself from blame.
Yes, we did not expect Venson-Moitoi to run around school classes ensuring that students and teachers do their work to ensure good results. In any case, even if she did, Venson-Moitoi would probably be so blank to understand what the teachers relay to their students. As such, Venson-Moitoi needed not be a teacher or a student to understand what it takes to ensure that both the teachers and students do their work diligently to attain impressive results.
All it required of her was to be a good administrator and leader. I always hear people point out that the education ministry is the most complex or difficult to run. I beg to differ. I’m of the view the difficulty is self-imposed by those who run it. For us to determine that the education ministry is being run properly and successfully, we measure it by the pass rate of students. Even though the ministry’s scope of work is diverse, the main indicator of success in the ministry is how the students perform at examinations. We don’t need traditional doctors to ensure that students pass their examinations. We don’t need Joshua. Actually even the involvement of parents is academically minimal if not irrelevant at all. All we need to prosper the education of our children is happy teachers. Yes, it only takes happy teachers to produce passing students.
For as long as Venson-Moitoi and President Khama treat teachers like worthless scumbags, the nation can be rest assured of more poor results. Venson-Moitoi placed blame on the teachers’ strike but the question is, what did she do to avert the strike? We cannot blame the teachers for striking because they wanted what was due to them. If the Khama-led government had the interests of students at heart, they should have rushed to address their impasse with the teachers to avoid a situation where government fights with the teachers but students end up being the casualties.
Venson-Moitoi seems to take Batswana for fools by trying to suggest to us that the strike alone is the course of these poor results. There are so many things that her ministry did and didn’t do that led to this crisis. They introduced new systems and syllabus yet it turns out they were only too excited to implement new things that they had no comprehension of. I find it rather absurd that we are expected to accept that the new marking or grading system is to blame for the mess in the examination results.
I mean, this system is not a natural disaster. It is not a creation of the invisible God. It was created and implemented by a human being and as such I don’t understand why that incompetent moron can’t be blamed and shown the exit door for the distress he or she has caused our children.
It seems Venson-Moitoi wants to pass the blame to the wrong people. As a responsible and mature leader, the first step in addressing her ministry’s gross failures should have been to humbly acknowledge her failure as the head. She should accept that she has failed her mandate and in turn failed the entire nation.
Pelonomi should take responsibility for her shortcomings as the ministry’s Chief Executive. She should address the nation on her dismal failures and must stop her ridiculous defensive crusade. She must shoulder the blame.
She must treat Batswana with the respect they deserve and explain this historic unpleasant state of our education sector. She should travel with her friend Ian Khama and while Khama doles out presents to destitute children, Venson-Moitoi on the other hand must explain why her ministry seems to be producing more destitutes instead of graduates. Well, Batswana should know that this is what you get when you have a president who values soldiers more than teachers. And don’t say I didn’t warn you when, out of hopelessness and anger, these failing students become a menace to society as they face their bleak future, all thanks to Venson-Moitoi and her friend Khama as President.