Although the government is facing a mammoth task of diversifying the economy and embarking on reducing the over reliance of the country on mineral revenues, the General Manager of Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC), Sebetlela Sebetlela, called on as imperative that the government brings skilled labour into the economy for diversification to be attainable.
Sebetlele said this last week as he was launching the Result Initiative Improvement in Mathematics and Science subject project in Francistown sponsored by the mining company.
“The diversification of our economy relies very heavily on a skilled base,” he said.
He pointed out that Botswana was facing a shortage of skills, especially in the areas of science and technology and said that the availability of skills in any country was one of the factors that contributed in the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Sebetlela stressed that it was crucial that efforts be exerted in the development of science and technology fields.
He illustrated that there was need for mathematics and science to be encouraged in schools, so that the government refrains from importing science and technology based skills from outside the country, which always came at cost.
“If one cannot afford those skills, chances of being inefficient and unproductive are high because they lack the right skills for the job and it has a negative bearing on economic growth,” he said.
He mentioned that, currently, there was a shortage of engineers and technicians in the country and there was an urgent need to accelerate the supply of such expertise in the market. He added that for this to happen there was supposed to be a constant supply of quality trainees to vocational and academic institutions. Sebetlela added that TNMC had undertaken the responsibility of promoting mathematics and science subjects, which were prerequisite subjects for those students in schools that were aspiring to pursue courses in fields of science.
He indicated that it was of utmost importance that there was an increase in the number of students gearing their careers towards the mathematics and science careers and, as TNMC, they would create the necessary environment for their support.
However touching on the theme of the day, “Results Improvement Initiative” on Mathematics and Science, Sebetlela indicated that the initiative was started by the Tati Nickel Mining Company and gained support from the Ministry of Education through the North Region Office. He also stressed that, together with the partners, being the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, he strongly believed that equipping the secondary schools with appropriate resources can go a long way in maximizing students’ academic performance in the field of mathematics and science.
“Accessibility of these resources will create a conducive learning environment and research, and we believe that the results which have been achieved by some schools in the region bear testimony of that,” he said.
He indicated that in the near future, Botswana would have a second University, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), and he yearned to see a lot who benefit from the program by TNMC and be the first of the intakes at this University.