Lack of planning is now biting us

The assistant Minister of Basic Education Moiseraele Goya has made stunning revelations that there are 9,000 trained teachers roaming the streets.

He said this at the Francistown City Council (FCC) full council meeting this week, where the Mayor, Sylvia Muzila lamented the availability of 40 vacancies in the FCC. The figures questioned by the Mayor, are a clear sign of poor planning and laziness by some officials, and they present a possible opportunity for corruption and nepotism. Why should vacancies be kept unfilled when there are thousands of trained youth roaming the streets? The answer is that those tasked with filling the posts are probably trying to find ways to employ their friends and relatives at the expense of qualified and experienced candidates. We hope that the Mayor will follow up on this matter and ensure that the posts are filled by January 2018.

In his presentation, the assistant minister did not speak on the issue of student-teacher ratio, nor did he state what percentage of those teachers are primary, junior secondary or and senior secondary school teachers. This information is crucial, especially when soliciting ideas, solutions, or cooperation from authorities such as councillors. We have heard reports that in some parts of the country, teachers are forced to teach as many as 35-40 students in one class. This arrangement deprives some students of the attention they deserve from their teachers. Some reports also suggest that it takes too long to replace a teacher for a particular subject such as Physics, English, Biology and others for reasons such as shortage of such teachers. Other reasons could be that the appointing officials hardly recognise the urgency that comes with the absence of a teacher. This therefore calls for regular review of training selection to ensure that training of teachers for some subjects does not disadvantage others. There should be an assessment of what the market needs. We should continue training our high school leavers in accordance with the needs of the market. There is also the need to avail more incentives for teachers and others working in remote areas because evidence shows that many graduates do not want to stay in rural areas for reasons that such areas lack infrastructure developments such as roads, health facilities, electricity, Internet, and even radio and cellphone signals. Another issue that the minister should look into is that of engagement of expatriates in private schools when there are qualified Batswana for those positions.  We also appeal to graduates to embrace working in private schools where conditions are totally different from government schools, such conditions as long working hours, research activities, creativity and slightly different remuneration.   

“A teacher is a compass that activates the  magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and  wisdom in the pupils.”  – Ever Garrison


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