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John slams shortage of textbooks, furniture in schools

LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
John addressing the school heads in Francistown
FRANCISTOWN: The new Basic Education permanent secretary, Bridget John has vowed to stamp out the perennial shortage of school textbooks and furniture. These resources, John said, play a critical role in the academic performance of students.

Speaking at a school heads conference here recently, she said ensuring adequate resources for learners was a priority for her.

John was responding to a comment from the chairperson of senior school heads, Gabalape Autlwetse.

Autlwetse had said that inadequate furniture is a long term constraint for both learners and staff across the country, when speaking of the challenges faced by senior schools.

“There is an outcry of shortage of school furniture that has been ongoing for a very long time and affecting both the teachers and students,” she said.

 “Maybe that is the reason why teachers are missing lessons because they do not have chairs.”

She added that some students are even forced to share chairs during lessons.

The chairperson of senior school heads conference also appealed to regional offices and the sub-regions to conduct regular stock takes to better articulate their needs to the Ministry.

“We also have inadequate textbooks in schools and blame is often pinned on school heads that they

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are not supervising the collections of books from students.

“We do not have control over students returning books and maybe policies need to be reviewed so that there can be cost sharing, just like school fees,” she said.

She called for the decentralisation of the procurement of textbooks, saying this could ease the challenges.

Responding to the comments, John said school heads, regional directors and the Ministry have a responsibility to make sure that students have enough textbooks and furniture for them to have a conducive learning environment.

“There is no way students can learn without textbooks or school furniture and such situations should be resolved with immediate effect,” she said.

John urged the school heads to work with the regional directors in order to improve the students academic performance.

“School heads and regional directors together with MoBE should work together because I sense that there is a disconnection between the involved parties and such  would cost the learner,” she said.



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