In this era when most countries have shifted their focus to education as a vehicle through which they can diversify their economies, our country has outdone itself, once again.
Our country is in the middle income bracket and this status must be complemented by matching initiatives and progressive programmes.
The Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) offers the public a window of hope for a socio-economically sound Botswana through the current generation which is at the bottom of the Education System.
The Government, through the ETSSP, has taken a giant step in her resounding endeavour to produce a highly multi-skilled and globally competitive human capital. This is a masterstroke! We legitimately expect the Government to demonstrate her unwavering commitment to this education transformation agenda through programmes, policies and initiatives, which directly speak to the foundation, Pre-Primary and Primary Education. This is the Alfa of everything in life. The quality of the foundation determines the quality of the end-product.
From time immemorial, our Government has deliberately neglected this foundation, Pre Primary and Primary Education and we can no longer afford to be spectators in a game which we are supposedly players. It all started with meagre salaries for teachers in primary schools, sub-standard training, insufficient resources and a litany of other ills.
The conditions of service and social welfare of primary teachers has never been an agenda item for the Government. On a daily basis, primary school teachers are expected to dig a little deeper to unearth obscured talents in pupils. This is the generation that the Government had in mind when she came up with the ETSSP.
The Government sees in them a multi-skilled and globally competitive generation at the tail end of their education. A beacon of our economy. This is the generation that the Government should be investing so much in, so that in the next 20 years they would be ready to apply their skills to drive our economy.
This is the generation that the Government has unashamedly hired donkey carts
The poor teachers are expected to produce miracles, as usual, when pupils miss school because one or two donkeys are missing, on sick leave or in mating season. They are expected to produce miracles when pupils come late and miss some lessons because the cart had a flat tyre in morning and the driver had to run around looking for something to fix it.
Donkey carts don’t pay “rent” at transport and are probably insurance-proof. Does the M.V.A Fund cover victims of this mode of transport? The same Government might turn around and say it doesn’t pay medical bills for self-inflicted injuries!
Why does the Government see nothing wrong in celebrating its people’s poverty by parading them in every public space for the world to see and mock!
Where is the dignity in riding a sekotsekara early in the morning and late in the afternoon, week in, week out in the scorching sun or stinging cold!
Just imagine this, “Oh! Ke wena gotweng ngwana wa gago o robegile letsogo mo kotsing ya kara ya ditonki tsa ga goromente a ya sekolong?”
We must condemn this arrogance displayed by our Government with the strongest words in our vocabulary. These are our rough diamonds and we must nurture and protect them jealously. They are the difference between the success and failure of the ETSSP. BOSETU unap
ologetically says an emphatic NO to donkey carts and calls upon the Government to find a decent transport, which is 21st century compliant, for these poor pupils.
By Othusitse Radipex Dibotlhale
Secretary for Pre & Primary Sector