Performance Improvement Coordinator at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MOESD) Lingani Eleck says the ministry has been disturbed by the latest events, whereby schools have been turned into arenas of Satanism, more especially in the North West Region.
Speaking at a day to commemorate the day of the African Child in Maun on Monday, Eleck said these are trying times for those in the teaching fraternity, as they have in most instances been made to work under conditions which are not favorable to them, adding that most schools are now dominated by problem children who do not care about their lives as they grow into men and women. She said school going children should be shown the need to make hay while the sun shines as tomorrow might be too late.
Eleck said the other area of concern is the access to education for vulnerable groups of children, even though this might however be a thing of the past as the government has now introduced the affirmative action model whereby children from challenged communities are now being sponsored to further their education, while their points of entry to institutions of high learning have also been reduced. For this reason, she said some institutions have been encouraged to move around the country to take services to these communities, most of which are found in areas described as hard to reach, as they are not easily accessible by road. Most of these are found in both the Okavango and Ngamiland districts. Maun Secondary School is one of the schools which has been designated as a point for referral, and the University of Botswana has been using the school as their access point.
“Nevertheless, we are also concerned about some private and religious schools which do not follow proper regulatory frameworks on the establishment and operations, which at times threaten the rights and welfare of our children.”
For his part, the day’s guest speaker, a form four student at Okavango International School Brian Rasesa said it is quite imperative that schools are turned into places where students are made to feel welcome and protected. Even though most schools allow corporal punishment, Rasesa said this must be done in a moderate way and examined from time to time, such that it serves the intended purpose of molding children, while at the same time turning them into better people. He┬á advised that damage and vandalism to property, which has been the case in some schools should not be tolerated, and that students, be it at primary or secondary school levels should┬á work on building a culture of respect amongst themselves and make work easier for government so that they may concentrate on other developmental issues.
“I also want to encourage fellow students that we should not dwell on shunning the education system in our country. You need to know and appreciate what we have here, because outside our borders it is even worse. We have to be realistic and understand that we cannot expect to have world class facilities in all our schools overnight”. He said although much has been accomplished in the education system, there is still much that needs to be done, and that the voice of children, which calls for renewed commitment to child friendliness and quality education, should be heard, so that they may achieve a level of education which they will be proud of.