Botswana is in a downwards spiral and if we do not take the right measures it will take decades to before we are even able to get back to where we are right now. Education in this country is really substandard, the pass rate for our exam leaving keeps going down. We are at a point where something drastic has to be done to turn things around. A lot of money is being spent on Education but when look into how it is spent, it leaves much to be desired.
55 years of independence and our education is still run like how it was when Sir Ketumile Masire was a teacher at Seepapitso Senior Secondary School. Food is prioritised over educational material like books, laboratory equipment and other teaching aids. Food is important for kids to be able to learn properly but if you spend all the money on food and the Science Lab has no equipment you will not have an innovative nation. The solution is privatising all the kitchens in the schools to the youth and women who are already in the catering business in the streets of Botswana. The government should cancel the school fees and what parents should pay for is food. For those students whose parents are not able then the government should help through the Social and Community Development office.
Instead of the government running an expensive food program, it will be buying food for the few students who are unable. The food quality will also improve being from a private company. Schools should also end at 13:00pm and parents who do not want to pay for the food can take their kids home to eat there. Study that is mandatory at school has not been working for a long time now. This is just a time where students and teachers play a cat and mouse game, when the teacher catches the student speaking they get punished. In the past study was helpful so that students can be able to do their homework on desks, this was a time when Batswana where in poverty. Children in this day and age have rooms that have desks, this will also increase participation from parents.
Parents will have to step up and help their children with homework and also check it at home because the children do not have study at school. This time that is used for study is the time that can be used for sport trainings. Teachers who are training students have to this at very late hours and this is a bone of contentions because they want to be paid overtime. Students who do sports will also go home early before dark as is the case right now. Students get home very late and some use sport as an excuse when in fact they were up to no good.
Students who do not pass a grade should repeat! Passing on kids to the next grade when they have not understood the concepts properly does not help anyone. The same students who get D at standard 7 will get F at Form 3. The problem that government has of not enough schools in secondary schools can solved by combing junior and senior secondary schools. A student should start secondary and complete it in a single school. All schools across the country have a lot of space, government has to build more classrooms in all schools including primary schools.
This increase in classrooms should also coincide with the reduction of the teacher to student ratio. The teacher to student ratio must become 1:25, more classrooms across the nation will ensure that teachers deal with a manageable class size to be able to produce the best results. Government should engage better with teachers unions to ensure they improve the education sector.
In the Digital Age we need to prioritise Maths and Science more. Government should buy teaching aids for experiments, textbooks and fund school trip to places like BITRI, BIH, BIUST and others in the other fields. It is very important that government focuses on improving the quality of education and not just putting the most number of students through school gates.
Kenneth Keeme Nelson
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