The Managing Director of Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC), Farhad Sattarov, has pointed out as imperative that Botswana government exerts its efforts in improving the quality of education, especially with regard to mathematics and science subjects in schools to try and address the challenge of shortage of engineers and technicians in the country. ┬á
He said this on Friday as the mine’s handing over ceremony of centers of excellence to Tutume McConnell Senior Secondary School and Masunga Senior Secondary School in Tutume.
“Botswana has a shortage of engineers and technicians and there is an urgent need to accelerate the supply of local skilled manpower in these fields into the economy and for this to happen there must be a constant supply of quality trainees from vocational and academic institutions,” he said.
Sattarov said that if Botswana disregards this challenge, it would mean that the country will continue to import science and technology based skills outside the country, which will then come at a cost. He further said that availability of skills in any country is one of the factors that contributes to the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“The diversification of any economy relies heavily on its skill base,” he advised.
However, the Managing Director went on to say that in 2007 and 2008 financial years, the government of Botswana allocated a huge budget to the Education Sector and hailed the initiative saying that it shows Botswana’s growing commitment and its recognition on the fact that education is a tool to driving the economy.
The Centre of Excellence initiative, which began in 2007, is aimed at result improvement, especially with mathematics and science subjects in schools by providing relevant equipment and facilities to students. It is a joint initiative between TNMC and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
Different senior schools, such as Shashe, Mater-Spei and Francistown Senior Secondary Schools, and junior schools, Selepa, Tashatha, Letlhabile and Tonota have benefited from this initiative through the provision of chairs, computers, mathematics, science software and different modern equipment. TNMC has invested over P7 million in these projects since its inception in 2007 to date. The total investment by TNMC on schools of excellence at both Masunga and Tutume Mcconnell Senior Secondary Schools alone amounts to P785 000.