Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Plans to phase out Primary Leaving Examinations underway

The newly established ministry of Basic Education is considering abolishing Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) in the near future and come up with a robust plan in monitoring student performance.  

But Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) is opposed to the idea saying students should repeat if they have failed their PSLE.

Information reaching this publication suggests that before the Ministry of Education and Sklls Development was divided into two ministries, discussions were underway on how to abolish the standard seven final examinations.

Government is said to have long taken a decision and made it compulsory that those who fail must proceed to secondary school level.

Responding to this publication questioner BEC spokesperson Fingile Makgalemele explained that PSLE is mandatory as a matter of policy as per the Revised Policy on Education of 1994. The policy states that PSLE has to be carried out primarily as a diagnostic examination to provide information about individual learners as well as the performance of the education system at the end of seven years of primary schooling while other examinations remains to serve selective purposes.

She said BEC has therefore instituted this examination and endeavoured to continue conducting it.

She said if the policy is to be re-considered proper channels will be followed with due diligence and the necessary consultations will be made. 

“Currently educators are grappling with exploring other ways of monitoring the achievement of learners as well as finding other ways that can provide assessment information that can be able to guide the development of policies,” she said.

Makgalemele added that it is hoped that the outcome of such explorations will provide more insight on what mode of assessment would be more suitable to support the growth of the Botswana economy.

Makgalemele stated that be that as it may, as the years go by the education system of this country, not BEC, has been pondering over whether an examination is the only way of measuring the achievement levels of the learners.

This, she said, has led to the idea of finding out how other economies, regionally and internationally, are doing this so as to improve on the information provided by assessment results that can be able to guide the development of policies as well as be used to better prepare learners to take part in the development of the economy she stated

She further stated that BEC has embarked on a pilot project to explore other ways of monitoring the achievement of learners within the system, not only at the end of primary schooling.

The results of the pilot project, Makgalemele said, will provide another source of information that can give guidance to the education system on the way forward with not only the primary school leaving examination but also other forms of assessment that can be utilized.

Commenting on the issue BTU President Johannes Tshukudu said “though it is news to me, BTU believes that students who have failed their PSLE to repeat. Some years ago the ministry agreed to implement that but unfortunately nothing has happened since then.”

He said he does not support the idea that PSLE should be abolished but rather the students should repeat until they pass.

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