Sunday, September 20, 2020

There is need to revamp the public education system

The steadily deteriorating pass rates at our government-owned schools is a serious cause for public concern and points to deep seated decay within our education system.

Pathetically, the decline is at almost all levels (primary, junior and senior secondary), starting 2007, with no end in sight. Only God knows when we will reach rock bottom.

The scenario painted by the decline calls for a serious assessment and evaluation of our public education system, vis-├á-vis the performance at the country’s private schools. It further strengthens the arguments for a complete overhaul of our public education system.

Government and the nation at large cannot simply wish this away. The problem will not disappear on its own. It needs a remedy, and an urgent one for that matter.

The situation calls for a fully fledged investigation into what the problems bedeviling the education system are, and how they could be resolved.

We know for a fact that some of the problems are linked with teachers’ grievances which range from low salaries to general despicable working conditions.

Most Batswana are too poor to afford sending their children to private schools.
Because a majority of our children go to government schools, the deteriorating results spell doom for our future given that many generations, not one, are affected.

As a nation, we cannot just sit back and fold our arms and let the deterioration continue without finding ways of mending the situation.

The decay has to be reversed, and the sooner the better for all of us.
As a nation we have a general idea of where lies the problem.

What is therefore needed is the will on the part of our leadership to put in place resources that are needed to turn the situation around.

Education is the gateway to enhanced quality of life. The importance of education needs no emphasizing and we must all be concerned with the current state of affairs.

Our country is in dire shortage of specialized skills and the deteriorating pass rates are not doing our economy any good. It is through education that we would be able to grow a comprehensively skilled work force.

We should not allow ourselves to fail in that endeavour.

The situation is even more worrisome in that one of the ideals of our Vision 2016 is for an educated nation. Given the deteriorating situation, it seems unlikely that we will be able to attain that lofty ambition.

While the results continue to deteriorate, we are concerned that most of the recommendations of the Kedikilwe Education Commission have not been implemented, almost twenty years down the line.
Following the commission, a government white paper was prepared and adopted. It is, however, disappointing that not much is taking off the ground.

There is no reason why, after so many years, government has not yet implemented the recommendations of the report.

The Kedikilwe Commission identified some of the issues contributing to the current decline in the pass rates and all we have to do is take a re-look at the commission’s report.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.