Gov’t does not prioritise education – Rari

Tobokani Rari
Tobokani Rari

Following the government’s decision to allocate P472 million development budget to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MESD), the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) says the former does not prioritise the country’s education.

Delivering the Budget Speech this week, the Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, revealed to have allocated the Education ministry P16.01 billion of which P15.54 billion was recurrent budget and a development budget of P472 million. Serame said the P16 billion will cover teachers’ salaries and allowances, tuition fees and allowances for tertiary education students, food and books for learners in public schools and operational costs for the Institutes of Health Sciences and brigades. Moreover, the budget will cover invigilation and course work costs under the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC), medical examination for students and maintenance of fire-fighting equipment at schools and provision for temporary teachers. Asked to comment on this year’s Education ministry budget, BOSETU’s secretary-general, Tobokani Rari said their view is that the recurrent budget does not matter much in terms of resolving issues besieging the education system as it will cater for the payment of salaries, allowances and some utilities like water bills, electricity and others. “The ministry’s recurrent budget might seem big relative to other ministries' budgets, but it is bound to be nonetheless, for the reason of the huge size of the ministry and the huge work force.

However, the budget that matters much to turn around the fortunes of our education system is the Development Budget, which is for construction of new infrastructure, furniture, learning materials, to mention but a few,” he said. Rari further stated that in terms of the Development Budget, the ministry does not even make up the top 10 ministries something, which shows that the government does not prioritise education as the budget is far from turning around the problems faced by the ministry. He said as government is set to implement the Outcome Based Education (OBE), there is need that a significant expenditure be channelled towards that initiative as it is much more practical with the bulk of student assessment being ‘continuous assessment’ as opposed to summative testing. “The OBE initiative would need more resources such as more teaching spaces for practical lessons. More equipment is bound to be used in the practical lessons as more students would be doing the practical activities as opposed to the current situation of which is more theoretic. Quite a sizeable portion of the budget needs to be reserved for the implantation of the OBE policy and initiatives,” Rari said.

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