What animal is Venson-Moitoi?

just when many were trying to come to terms with the fact that Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi is not as kind as her name suggests, another surprise awaits.

Pelonomi has denied Shakawe Form Five students an opportunity to repeat the classes which they needed to do to prepare for the resitting of their examinations. This is after going on national television and stating that the affected students would be allowed to resit, in an interview where the news anchor was unable to ask critical questions on how the whole exercise would be executed. The long-suffering students, the nation is now informed, will resit their examinations, not by repeating their classes at Shakawe Senior, but through tutelage from the Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning, ostensibly via distance learning for some students. What remains to be seen is whether BOCODOL will provide the students with science laboratories, gardens for agricultural practicals, art studios, and other learning facilities that are available at Shakawe Senior. Venson-Moitoi apparently could not take the bold decision of making a special arrangement for the students to repeat at their former school. The minister could have set up evening classes, arranged with teachers to work over-time, and even recruited more to address the situation which was, without doubt, created by her government. It is disappointing that Venson-Moitoi’s parting shot from the education portfolio consists of a dismissive slap of children whose future depends on education, in the same way that this country’s future depends on these same children. Venson-Moitoi’s departure is itself a curious affair as her employer, the head of state, is yet to clarify where she stands constitutionally. Is Mma Venson-Moitoi now a public servant as can be inferred by her being tasked with the “special assignment?” In this case, the law would require her to relinquish her political positions, namely in the legislature. Yesterday, Venson-Moitoi insisted that she was still a minister, which would also raise questions about whether the education portfolio in Cabinet has two heads, being the lady in question and her “acting” replacement, Mokgweetsi Masisi. Her insistence also raises the question of whether two ministers are representing the education ministry in Cabinet, to Batswana and to the world. It is critical that this debacle save the country international embarrassment and it would appear that a less messy solution could have been achieved, where Venson-Moitoi demoted to an assistant minister. The apparent disorder around Venson-Moitoi echoes the shambles within which the education system finds itself, where teachers and government are at loggerheads and students’ interests have been pressed into the ground. We hope that Masisi, who is spearheading poverty eradication, will begin cleaning up the mess at education and start by ordering Shakawe students to be readmitted to class for their examinations.  If government can spend P2 million on a poverty eradication workshop over a weekend, then there is no reason why the same amount cannot be spent on 500 students who need to repeat.  This is Masisi’s opportunity to prevent poverty, rather than create it and seek solutions later.

Editor's Comment
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