The Minister of Basic Education Bagalatia Arone told Parliament this week that pre-primary schools need new reinforcement on policies to upgrade levels of education to cater to all pupils for easy understanding.
He, however, explained that he was not aware that the Pre-primary school (PPS) programme does not provide continuity in terms of mediums of instruction and content objectives.
“English is not the medium of instruction at pre-primary, however, learning at pre-primary actively engages children and is centered on the needs of the learner. In this regard, the teachers are to be flexible during classroom instruction to ensure that every child benefits from the day’s experiences,” he said.
He added that the gradual introduction of English as a medium of instruction at pre-primary sets a foundation for learning of subjects such as English, Mathematics and Science at Standard One. The policy guidelines prescribe that the languages of instruction must be the language used in the specific locality of the environment.
Moreover, he said the development of pre-primary programme objectives is not the same with the mentioned standards being Standard Two and Three. This is due to the age difference and their thinking capacity on the content being delivered to them. Pre-primary is preparatory stage for learning, therefore the objectives at this level are not the same, but are linked for progression onto the next level of learning. One level is a base for
Arone further said since they realised that teachers at that level are having a challenge in the interpretation of all the objectives in certain regions, hence the need for vigorous In-service Training. It is only from Standard Two that English is the language of instruction.
However, he noted that his ministry is aware of the new globalisation changes in learning a second or third language during childhood can provide developmental and social benefits. He, therefore, he said his ministry advises the use of English and Setswana as mediums of instruction at lower primary.
He was answering to a question asked by Member of Parliament (MP) Abram Kesupile for Kanye South, who asked if he was aware that the pre-primary school programme does not provide continuity in terms of the mediums of instruction and content objectives and to state why English is the medium of instruction at pre-primary school and not Setswana as is the case in Standard One where children progress to. He further asked the minister to state why pre-primary school content objectives were familiar to those in Standard Two and Three, which are three and four years ahead of those suitable for pre-primary school.