FRANCISTOWN: Dyslexic student Pusetso Junior Gabate was cut above the rest of Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) students who sat for their final examination in 2018.
Dyslexic is described as a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. Gabate scooped position one nationally after attaining 8 A stars and one B. Gabate is a former student at Tutume Mc Connell College (TMCC), which improved massively after it attained position nine from 21 in the BGCSE 2018 results.
Gabate thanked God for answering his prayers and helped him reach his target of attaining 48 points and beating all Form Fives who sat for BGCSE examination last year.
Gabate revealed that he was always an average student during his primary and junior secondary school days after being diagnosed with dyslexia at primary level.
“When I was doing Standard One and Two, I couldn’t read nor write properly and most people felt that I was a dull boy because I got the last position in class. My grades started to improve after my mother took me for therapy,” he explained.
After attending therapy sessions for three years, his condition improved. He then started performing better to the extent of getting an A for his Primary School Leaving Examination and a B for his Junior Certificate Examinations.
Gabate said when he started Form Four he took 40 points with an E in Physics and G in Geography.
“When I was in the school library I came across a book title “Know what matters” by Saidi Mdala which inspired me to believe in myself and know that I can make it in life against all odds,” he said.
The 18-year-old said when he was preparing for his final examination he woke up at 3am and was the first one to arrive at school, and the last to leave the school premises.
During school holidays, Gabate did not go to his home village, Maun, rather he remained behind and went to the school library to study daily.
Gabate is going to pursue his A levels at Maru-a-Pula school and his long time goal is to be a Neurologist. Neurology is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.
He said the profession caught his attention when they were studying a brain topic during Biology class.Dineo Gabate, Pusetso’s mother and the new headteacher at Lotsane Senior Secondary School, said she was happy with his son’s academic performance. Dineo said she did not expect anything less than what was achieved by her son since he was always focussed, organised and determined on his studies.
She said when Pusetso was doing Standard One and Two at Boteti House primary school in Orapa he could not grasp any concept and was always the last in class. She said her son was later referred to continuous therapy session after he was diagnosed with dyslexia.Dineo explained that a dyslexic student
She explained that her son wrote words and sentences from a different direction to the other or wrote letters upside down.
“Even back then he always loved reading books even though he held the books the other way around all the time,” she said.
She added that when Gabate was doing Standard Six, she bought a book titled, “Able hands” which was written by a dyslexic person. It also contributed to the improvement in her son’s condition. Dineo said her son is different from other children as he enjoys watching scientific channels such as Discovery or reading knowledge based books. TMCC school head, Watson Basoli praised Gabate for his outstanding success.
He said Gabate is behind their improvement from position 21 to being part of the top 10 schools in the just released BGCSE.
Basoli said that it was an honour as a school to have a student listed in the top achievers.
The school head indicated that when Pusetso was within the school premises he would appear lonely and alone. However, it later surfaced that he had a partner; his schoolwork.
“He would separate himself from his colleagues and study alone in a little corner by himself. He also made use of the school facilities such as the library,” he said.
Basoli indicated that Pusetso was also a role model to other students as a result of his good performances in the end of term examination final results. He said that they are very proud of the 2018 group but they are not going to lose sight of the fact that behind their success is a committed teacher and continued support from parents.
Basoli also said that their main goal is to reach position one and surpassing the Ministry of Basic Education target of 53%.
He said their secret weapon to be in the top 10 was disciplineing students academically and socially.He also said that the students were engaged in study groups which proved to be very much handy together with the community input as well as alumnus especially class of 1990 who sponsored their prize giving with P27, 000.00 which is very creditable. Basoli also applauded the non-teaching staff for their continued hardship of making sure they provide quality services that are very essential and if not provided it could have dented their school.
He mentioned that they also introduced Club pledge 48 which students aims to attain 48 points, which created a platform for improvement for both the day and boarding students.
Basoli also said that even though they face challenges such as water shortage in their area and frequent power cuts their students remain settled and focussed on their studies.
He said that they are in the process of purchasing water storage tanks, which they would use when there is no water.