Though the recently released Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGSCE) results are said to have improved by a slight 1.4 percent, thanks to the 32.4 percent (65, 798) candidates who got grade C or better, as compared to 2011's 31 percent (65,303) - much more needs to be done to align the school output with market demands.
In addition to the 1.4 percent improvement, the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) reports that results show a significant improvement in performance in Home Management, Music and Fashion and Fabrics."Generally, a decline in performance across the rest of the subjects has been noted," BEC states.
The examinations body adds that females performed better than males. Though female candidates continue to outperform their male counterparts in Humanities and Languages, Mathematics, Sciences and Creative and Vocational subjects remain males' domain.In an interview with Mmegi yesterday, the Managing Director of Human Resources Management Consultants (HRMC), Stuart White said the labour market would require expertise in ICT, telephony and telecommunications, financial services, mining and explorations in the next 10 years.
He says the ICT field is going to be absolutely paramount and the telecommunications, which are very rare in supply because the more the nation becomes dependent in doing business electronically and the further the complex the field becomes, more qualified human capital is demanded.
"As the country comes under pressure to diversify its economy from dependency on diamonds there is a need for commercial and entrepreneurial skills in the country," White says. In addition, services will also top the agenda in the coming decade. The HR guru called for more investment in call centre and other knowledge-based services training.
With the recent results, which he called unacceptable, White says the economy would face a tough future if the situation is not redressed as a matter of urgency. "It has to become a national priority," he says, adding that the standard of teaching across all levels, from primary, junior and senior secondary to tertiary have to prepare learners for meaningful value addition
to the labour market both locally and across the globe.
Another HR personality, Batsho Dambe-Groth of Resources Logic, told Mmegi that vocational skills would be (and are currently) required because the focus has been much more on the academics. The managing director of this human resources consultancy company adds that entrepreneurial skills will be critical, as attention has been shifted towards being employed as opposed to being employment-creators. She says even those absorbed in the employment roll at the moment need to have these skills because generally, the conventional approach has been that school prepares one to be an employee.
"Technical computer skills will be needed because currently students go to university to concentrate on the theoretical aspect," she says. She mentions service orientation as another crucial aspect that the nation needs to work on. Dambe-Groth says in most instances people are qualified in various disciplines but lack service delivery skills and not applying themselves fully in their respective vocations.
She calls upon each stakeholder to take responsibility in ensuring that the education system produces market-fit individuals and those who can help diversify the economy through entrepreneurship. However, she says this can be realised if the method of delivery embraces independent thinking, instils ambition among learners and other soft skills such as self-belief and aspirations to make a difference.
"Students should move away from that mentality where it is okay to supplement, they should focus on passing the examinations," she says. Lastly, she says government should provide structure in which people would want to go into teaching, and that teaching should not be viewed as a last resort but the noble image that the vocation once had ought to be restored. Learners on the other hand, she says, should fully apply themselves regardless of the environment.
Globally, it is also believed that best jobs follow the hottest markets being medicine, consulting and the e-economy. Global competition means more work for consultants with management experience. The web economy means more jobs for the web-savvy.