I am highly tempted to submit this appreciation regarding our dream for moving Botswana from a middle-income to a high-income economy. As a matter of fact, it has been observed throughout history that changes in the shape and process of education have often followed fundamental changes in the structure of economies.
Most countries that are known to be having quality and equitable access to education such as the United States of America, Germany, Singapore, Israel and Rwanda, are all thriving economically. During the beginning of the fifth session of the 11th Parliament of Botswana, His Excellency the President reiterated the emphasis on the need for increasing multiple skills acquisition by Batswana in quest for meeting various economic demands of our country through vocational training.
The underlying message of SONA 2018 was ‘transforming Botswana from a resource based economy to a more diversified knowledge based economy’. As we aspire to move to a high-income nation, this transformation remains a critically important purpose for Botswana.
The ITL Research findings for 2011 reveal that ‘Innovation is flourishing in the world around us. We see it regularly in rapid technological advancements and in the growth of knowledge-based economies around the world’. This revelation seems to suggest thus: the advancement in innovation through technology result in an equivalent growth of the economy. Moreover, that growth is heavily driven by residents applying the learnt knowledge for sustainable development. Through the promotion of e-learning by the Ministry of Basic Education, (MoBE) technology advancement is more than likely to happen. I must at this point commend MoBE for opening its arms towards any partnership with any stakeholders that are willing to advance this much needed development. And indeed, commend all stakeholders who have already heeded the call.
The paradigm shifts in curriculum and pedagogical approach as defined by MoBE is to address the gaps posited by the education and training sector strategic plan which constitute the fact that, there is a mismatch between the knowledge that learners acquire in schools and the skills that they will later need in life. The classroom experience does not lay a good foundation for them to play a meaningful role in society. This is the reason why we
MoBE appreciates these limitations hence the need to align the curriculum to the demands of the market.
As important as the content in our curriculum, mind-set education is essential. This can clearly shift our thinking from negative to positive, from impossible to possible, from I can’t to I can, from mediocrity to greatness. Excuses for failure is cancerous. We no longer want to take responsibility as individuals for our own undoing. Such an approach wont bear any fruit regardless of any transformation that might be suggested. We need to focus on the ‘ball’ and ignore the ‘baggage’. Lest we use up all the energy on matters that have no bearing on enhancing quality education. A positive mind-set will encourage professional development. Professional growth will result in quality education. Quality education will certainly empower Batswana to be self-reliant and contribute to the growth of the economy. This is the route that South Korea embarked on and today they are one of the most successful nations in the whole world.
MoBE calls for a review in organisational structure in order to support executions. This is highly commendable. The status quo, which places centrality before decentralisation and bureaucracy before adhocracy, will always thwart developments.
I must hasten to point out that it is MoBE’s dream to decentralise authority to regions and school level. If such initiatives can come to pass, then the many challenges prevailing in our schools can be addressed as and when it is deemed feasible. More importantly, transformations can be embraced and applied in the manner suiting the different environments. I fully subscribe to the reforms as envisaged by the MoBE. Great appreciation to the government for continuously investing in our education. I am inclined to believing that basic education is the springboard for a Knowledge Based Economy.