While thousands of students throughout Botswana are suffering depression and unease in isolation due to COVID-19, bullying and worse, Baratani Junior Secondary School students and teachers breathed a collective sigh of relief last week as the Japanese Embassy provided hope for salvation. More than 330 Baratani students and 55 teachers will now have access to safety solutions, thanks to the Japanese grant Assistance for Grassroots Human security Projects (GGP) which has helped provide safety and welfare which will help the school administration to prevent students from harming themselves, teachers and other students. Japan’s Ambassador to Botswana, Takeda Kozo, last week handed over a Guidance and Counselling Block to the school.
The facility was constructed under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects. A Grant Contract was signed between the Embassy of Japan and Baratani Junior Secondary School, located on 10th October 2018 where the school received US$46,884 for the project. With this new Guidance and Counselling Block, approximately 330 students and 55 staff members will be able to receive counselling as well as first-aid. The facility will help the school to address issues such as high dropout rates, bullying, poor performance and others.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Takeda expressed “profound respect for the strong commitment and effort made by the Government of Botswana to ensure access to education for all.” He emphasized that in order for students to fully enjoy their school life, and be equipped with the skills and confidence to achieve their dreams, their well-beings needed to be taken care of. He also expressed hope that the facility will contribute to the reduction of various social and health problems that students are facing, but also to assist to improve student’s academic results.
Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao expressed gratitude that the Japanese envoy leaves behind a legacy of an improved quality of life for Batswana through the many projects that the Embassy of Japan undertook in the country. The Japanese Government offers a financial assistance program for projects addressing social problems and aiming at community development at the grass-roots level to meet Botswana’s diverse needs: “Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP)”.
The Baratani Guidance and Counselling Block is the 54th project out of a total of 59 approved projects, since the grant scheme was introduced in Botswana in 1997.The project could not have come at a better time, when Botswana schools are reeling from high drop out rates, bullying and the Covid-19 fallout. A recent study: Bullying in Botswana Schools: A Review by Morekwe Selemogwe , Nomagugu Setlhare- Oagile & Seipone Mphele from University of Botswana found widespread bulliyng among Batswana students and teachers.