The Minister of Education and Skills Development (MoE&SD), Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has informed Parliament that the downward trend in the students' performance in the Botswana General Certificate to Secondary Education (BGCSE) bares evidence in the quality of education.
"This I must say is a clear indication that drastic measures need to be put in place in order to reform and revive the education sector," she said adding that the ministry has identified various areas that need immediate attention. She said this includes among other things, the conditions of service for teachers, that is housing accommodation, office space, poor provision of teaching equipment, training of new teachers and retraining of those already in the job. "We intend to immediately find ways of addressing these issues," she said.
Giving a review of the 2009/2010 performances, Venson-Moitoi said that her ministry has maintained focus of its activities around four key goals of quality, relevance, access and equity with education and training. She stated that the ministry has sought to achieve the goals within the principles of efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of education and training.
She revealed that the Education Ministry has started working on the development of the National Credit and Qualifications Framework which aims at developing a system most suitable for use as a basis for accumulation and transfer of credits into and between qualifications. Venson- Moitoi informed the house that the ministry completed the review of the Junior Secondary School Curriculum during the 2009/10 to cater for the changing socio economic situation and increase competitiveness. "The syllabi are being implemented effective January 2010," she said.
She further revealed that the ministry has also completed the evaluation of senior secondary school curriculum, which will be reviewed in 2010/11 to shift emphasis to applications in Mathematics, Science and basic business and entrepreneurial teaching. She asserted that based on the revised curricula, the ministry, through the Botswana Examinations Council, is reviewing and developing examination and assessment programmes. She however revealed that the founding development of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is running behind the schedule at about 32 percent as against the programmed 60 percent.
She said the project was affected by several issues from its inception such as the court case as the tender was challenged by some bidders and then the general slow progress on the site associated with shortage of material as well as problems of lack of supervision and poor
Venson - Moitoi pointed out that the construction of the four senior secondary schools of Shakawe, Nata, Mogoditshane and Mmadinare stated in March/April 2009 estimated to be completed between September and December 2010 is running behind schedule with Shakawe at six months behind.
The Education Minister told Parliament that about 21 brigades out of 41 have been taken over by government with the remaining to be taken on board as and when they are ready. She said the project is anticipated to have been completed by June 2010 and that "it must be noted that most of those brigades are in a very sorry state. The ministry therefore intends to not only renovate the facilities but also upgrade some of them to technical colleges instead of building new colleges." She said that will ensure efficient use of resources especially the teaching staff but also noted that they anticipate encountering shortage of lecturers. "Government will commence sponsorships into brigades on a limited basis starting in 2011," Venson-Moitoi said.
From the 2010/11 recurrent budget of P8, 251, 324, 290, she requested that the Department of Teaching Service Management be given the largest portion of P3 100 697 340.
Department of Tertiary Education Financing (TDEF) received the second largest share of P2, 356, 667, 620 of which P2, 318, 406, 880 will be used on students already on government sponsorship.
From the development budget of P1 468 750 00, she requested that 71 percent of that be allocated to Colleges of Education projects to cater for completion of ongoing projects and upgrading of Serowe and Francistown Colleges of Education.
She requested the house that the sum of P15, 650, 000 be allocated to MOESD consultancies to cater for the adult basic education programme, streamlining of emotional intelligence and the establishment of the education hub, the ongoing review of senior secondary school curriculum and development of National Credit Qualification Framework.