Chief Education Officer Didimalang Mmemo has expressed concern at the high number of teachers who refuse to be deployed to the Ngami region. Speaking at a meeting organized by the Botswana Educational Research Association (BERA) in Maun recently, Mmemo urged teachers in the North West region to resolve challenges that result in most of them refusing to be deployed to the region or demanding to be transferred from the region.
It has emerged that some teachers are not willing to live or work in Ngamiland, especially those on first appointment. Others only serve in the area for a short while after promotion but later demand to be transferred elsewhere. The bad terrain and poor roads were also cited as major deterrents as they render the Ngamiland area inaccessible. Mmemo also urged teachers to come up with solutions on how the education sector can retain teachers who are not willing to work in Ngami.
“This is a big problem because we are already skating on thin ice,” she said.
She added that for a long time the Ngami region has not been doing well academically, which is enough evidence that they might be missing a link somewhere.
“Our results, right from primary school level, have not been pleasing, which is why we now need to strengthen our systems through research,” she said.
She added in some cases government has had to spend a lot of money in repairs and maintenance works due to vandalism by students. She urged teachers to research ways in which they can better assist students with learning difficulties, adding that it will be of no use to isolate such students because of their inabilities.
“We are just hopeful that you will undertake research with assistance from BERA and later use your newly acquired skills to improve our education,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by the Principal Education Officer (North East) Joyce Modie who encouraged all regions to bench mark and collaborate from time to time.
“Through research teachers will be able to identify students with special needs. We are aware that students’ education is disrupted by many challenges. Sometimes they have to walk long distances and by the time they finally reach schools they can hardly concentrate because of fatigue,” she said.
She revealed that the quality of basic education in all developing countries is worrisome and called for production of relevant quality material.
“We should also not overlook the aspect of quality supervision which will enable teachers to respond to situations and bring positive change,” said Mmemo.
BERA is a member of BOLESWANA, an organization comprising educational research associations from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. It works in collaboration with all stakeholders in the provision of education in order to build local research capacity and expertise in Botswana.