Botswana National Front (BNF) wishes all students writing their final examinations in both private and public institutions the best of luck as the examination season commences in this last quarter of the year.
The Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) have just ended and marking is to resume soon. The Junior Certificate Examinations (JCE) and Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations have also commenced.
We call upon all the candidates, especially in public schools to study hard and rise against the challenging circumstances and unfavourable learning environment.
Though there is abundance of resources to provide the best education for all, the BNF is worried that national wealth is not properly channeled and distributed into the education system.
The BNF is aware of the shortage of books at all levels in schools; ill equipped laboratories that have become theory based; the high student – teacher ratio; lack of specialisation at primary schools; automatic progression; dilapidated infrastructure that threatens students’ and teachers’ safety and health; Lack of commitment by government to improve the deteriorating state of education including the poor implementation of the 1994 Revised National Policy on Education; etc.
To the committed and hard working teaching fraternity, the BNF under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) calls upon the professionals to do their best under the current harsh and unfriendly teaching environment. The BNF appreciates their commitment to the teaching profession despite the low motivation and morale due to the poor working and living conditions. The BNF, agrees with the 5th October World Teachers Day theme: Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers. The draconian and repressive legislation that has recently been introduced by the ruling BDP government making the teaching fraternity essential cadres despite International Labour Organisation standards has worsened the poor status of the teaching profession.
It has disempowered the teaching profession and curtailed their freedoms. The collapse of the bargaining council is also a blow for the teaching fraternity and the general public service.
We are aware of the environment the teachers work
We however, implore the teaching fraternity to do their best for the students in this trying time as examinations can make or break a student.
The regulatory body responsible for the running and management of national examinations, Botswana Examination Council, should also provide a conducive environment for the invigilation and marking of the examinations. We hope the key stakeholders, Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union and Botswana Teachers Union have been professionally engaged and all pending payments due to teachers have been settled and new agreements signed to eliminate the disruption of the examination process.
BNF’s education policy, advocates for quality education that empowers everyone who goes through the education system to tackle social issues like unemployment, poverty, diseases, etc.
The comprehensive Education With Production policy empowers students with various vocational skills that also promote self employment and self reliance.
The current lame and sickly BDP sponsored education system continues to throw hundreds of thousands of youths, including university graduates into the streets. Recent official reports indicate that around 100 000 youths are unemployed in Botswana. This is unacceptable. The only alternative remedial action is change of government in 2019.
The BNF calls upon the teaching fraternity and the general workforce to remain principled and focused with the UDC, not only due to their resolution when they contributed to the formation of the organisation but to help UDC transform Botswana and improve the quality of life of all Batswana with its sound policies. The UDC policies remain committed to the needs of the students, teachers, all workers and all Batswana in general.
*Justin Hunyepa is BNF Information and Publicity Secretary