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Knowledge based society: Botswana`s perspectives

The knowledge society concept both as an investment and area of study is spreading so rapidly around the world that it has been described as a “knowledge revolution to be utilised by all developing countries.”

Despite significant strides made in the development of human capital within the sphere of the contested globalisation terrain, Botswana has already done retrospection in terms of transiting from a resource based to a knowledge society leveraging on accessible quality education hosted by an inclusive life long policy.

We are therefore not left behind and neither are we in slumber hence our national agenda which talks about transforming our economy from being mineral driven to knowledge and skills based.

I am prompted to sort of redefine the pillar of “access to education” Pedagogically; access to education differs from the conventional access we  usually  mechanically refer to, because it seems access refers to opening one hundred classrooms to one thousand students and providing hundreds teachers in ten schools.

On the contrary the pedagogical doctrine for access to education refers to accessible quality education, put differently there’s no access if the education to be accessed is not quality. 

Therefore access is access to quality education because that is what must be accessed. Conversely, quality education is that which has a human face and that which will ultimately lead to the public good.

Education is only of quality if it focuses on making a society to constructively compete with the rest of the world. Education is only quality if it creates more education to develop the society which hosts it. Education is education only when it uplifts the standard of the public good and is coated or flavoured with morality and social justice.

Accessible quality education within the preview of an institutionalised lifelong learning policy is now a global strategic precursor of human capital competitive development.

Progressive countries now invest more than 20% of their GDP in creating knowledge not within the boundaries of a classroom but within the focus of innovation towards wealth creation.

Again we are not left behind as a country hence our National Vision 2036 which talks about “achieving prosperity for all”. This is in view of the fact that whereas the resources of the industrial society, such as fossil fuels tend to be used only once, knowledge can be used to create new knowledge. Our teacher teaches someone who then teaches others. It’s a continuation and a never

ending process of imparting knowledge on others and others also imparting knowledge on others.

The growing role of research, science and technology in creating knowledge to solve business, social, political, academic and environmental problems has become a validated methodology of wealth creation. The world is going through a time of reflective change characterised by smart survival technics within the doctrine of competitive knowledge creation and application for global marketability and export.

All that we do, make and earn will be valued, validated, altered and determined by new knowledge and technological change. Knowledge differs from other resources; each new discovery provides a platform for further discoveries. Globalisation of the world’s economies has fuelled competition and spurred the gathering of knowledge so much that only those countries which invest in quality education culminating into quality human capital development will survive the ever contested economic terrain. Against this background and notwithstanding all other attempts to build human capital development, there is an urgent need for a time-bound strategic project focusing on exploiting knowledge for societal prosperity and well-being, and the transition to a knowledge society.

The project should provide a framework for constructing the knowledge society we want Botswana to be and define the context for the research, science and technology investments to make Botswana a super knowledge society leveraging on the quartet of; quality education, institutionalised lifelong learning, funded indigenous knowledge and vocationalised tertiary education.

The need for all employers to fertilise enough ground for their employees to further their studies is imperative. It should never be the role of government alone. There is a need for more post graduates in critical areas to create a pool of people who can carry out and apply research output.

 We need people to master socio-economic complexities in tandem with the contemporary world. In her famous speech, Mother Theresa said, “We have a choice as a nation to either invest in education or to build prisons to accommodate the ills of not investing in education” Conversely, Turner Smith (2009) said “Globalization either perceived to be good or bad tells every nation to either develop knowledge which is of course expensive or import knowledge which is of course unaffordable”.

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