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Learners with disabilities being left behind

PINI BOTHOKO
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Mochudi West, Gilbert Mangole has expressed concern over challenges faced by learners with disabilities, which are rapidly rising and contributing immensely to poor examination results.

Mangole pointed out that the country’s education is not effective towards learners with disabilities something that needs immediate attention.  He told Mmegi following the question he recently raised in Parliament on the unsatisfactory performance of learners with disabilities at Molefi Senior and Linchwe Junior secondary schools.

Mangole had asked the Minister of Basic Education, Unity Dow to state the number of students who sat for the 2016 examinations in the education department of both schools, the results obtained and whether the performance was satisfactory. 

He also wanted to know if the results were not satisfactory what factors led to such performance. He said that he was disturbed by a trend that manifested in a very low progression number of children living with disabilities from primary to junior secondary schools. 

He said learners’ poor performance is a clear sign that the government has abandoned learners with disabilities because they are currently not accessing the tools they need such as braille textbooks, trained teachers and many other unique but critical support measures.

“For the past two years I have been overwhelmed with complaints from the learners’ parents who are worried about their children’s future looking at their poor results.”

Mangole added: “I once visited the two schools, met with the teachers who said they were faced with lack of resources, something that affects their productivity”.

The learners are performing poorly and failing to graduate further, something that later affects them as they fail to compete with their peers in the job

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market.  He said that what makes the situation worse is that teachers are not allowed to disclose their problems and wonder how they will be assisted if they cannot voice out their challenges.

“I am satisfied that through her answers the minister admitted that their results are not satisfactory and as government they are also failing to assist them accordingly.  This is a clear indication that the government in power is failing,” Mangole said. Dow revealed that there were 13 candidates who sat for the 2016 Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) within the Special Education Unit at Molefi Senior Secondary School and there were 12 from Linchwe Junior Secondary School.

Dow said three of the 13 candidates from Molefi, passed with five Cs or better and only one candidate from Linchwe Junior Secondary School passed with a B grade.

“Three obtained grade D, three obtained grade E and five were awarded grade U,” Dow said, confirming that the results are not satisfactory.

She stated that in terms of human resources that continue to be a problem in terms of having trained personnel, they strive to recruit the right people.

“It also depends on the cohort of the students. I cannot say as a matter of fact that (the problem lies with) the cohort of students we get this year, or the resources and the people themselves. All I can promise is that we will try our best (to resolve the problem),” Dow said.



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