The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Vincent Seretse took a rare step by a Minister when he broke ranks with his colleagues in cabinet to thrash the country’s education system, saying it has taken a nose dive.
Debating the budget speech, Seretse – who lost in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Primary elections – said the quality of the education in Botswana is suspect as the grading system was just susceptible.
“For the past few years the quality of our education has been susceptible with most of the graduates failing to get employment,” he decried.
Seretse took a swipe at Government for failing to maintain infrastructure in schools, reasoning that in the past maintenance of schools was a priority and was well budget for.
Seretse, whose ministry is in charge of government infrastructure, said most of the schools buildings are dilapidated; thus compromising the quality of education as it demoralises both the learners and the teachers.
Minister of Basic Education Bagalatia Arone has recently admitted that the maintenance of schools has lagged behind, promising that they were working around the clock to fix it.
“With the arrival of Bridget John as the Permanent Secretary I am optimistic that we will be able to fix problems at the ministry,” he said.
In his budget speech, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo allocated the largest share of P8.24 billion or 17.5% of the total Ministerial Recurrent budget to the Ministry of Basic Education.
“This will cater for the ongoing investment in human capital development with expenditure items covering payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances, maintenance of existing facilities, provision for textbooks, food supplies, stationery, payment of utilities and replacement of furniture and equipment in schools,” he said.
He said there were ongoing efforts of normalising the situation of lack of furniture in schools which has been a problem. Most of the problems bedeviling the Ministry of Basic Education, according to Arone, have to do with internal processes which they are working on addressing.
Another area that Arone said that they will focus on is the injection of new blood into the offices as some officers have been there for far too long and are now in comfort zone.