Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane has urged teachers to work hard to improve students’ performance.
He stated that the current pass rate at both primary and secondary schools is far from satisfactory.
“I wish to take this opportunity to plead with all teachers to do more and give their very best to improve learners’ performance,” Tsogwane said when officiating at this year’s commemoration of the National Teachers’ Day at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena.
“You will agree with me that schools must cater for the diversity of human ability. It is for this reason that the implementation of the Education and Training Strategy Sector Plan (ETSSP) must be expedited to change the face of the education sector for the better.”
In recent years, the country has witnessed a sharp decline in Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), Junior Certificate (JC) and Botswana General Certificate for Secondary Education (BGCSE) results.
The trend in PSLE, and BGCSE results has not been different in that the percentage of students, who are awarded grade C or better has dropped way below 50%.
However while the performance of students has been dropping, the expenditure of the education ministry has increased annually.
There has been debate in who should be blamed for poor results, be it the learners themselves, teachers, government or the parents.
Tsogwane said it is in this regard, that there have been strides made in the provision of access to early childhood education.
He stated that currently 589 of primary schools offer the yearlong reception classes with an enrolment of 25,272 learners and accommodating 43% of the standard ones.
He said the government remains committed to rolling out the programme to reach all children over the coming years.
Tsogwane said the government would fully implement ETSSP to create a balance between academic pursuit, and technical and vocational education.
He said this would, however, challenge perceptions
Tsogwane said as transformational agents, teachers are the people who will cause change in the education sphere.
He said the 21st century learner has challenges completely different from those of the 20th century, hence the need to engage teachers and all stakeholders including unions holistically in the education transformation for informed delivery and implementation.
He said to emphasise the fact that the success of ETSSP strategy and its objectives depend on the teachers being transformational agents.
“This transformational agent needs to change and adapt to emerging needs. The competencies of teachers need to be brought up to date for teachers to be fully empowered to deliver the reformative agenda of today and tomorrow,” Tsogwane said.
He added the establishment of the Botswana Teaching Council is a welcome development as it would elevate the teaching profession and bring it to par with international teaching standards.
He stated that the much-awaited Council is a critical step in the transformation of teaching and learning in Botswana.
“I am confident that the Council and the Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) will improve the standards of education as well as the professional and ethical conduct of teachers,” he said.
Tsogwane said he was fully aware of the challenges the Basic Education system is facing, stating that the government is committed to building more new schools in the medium term and reduce the class sizes to ease the burden on the teacher.
He said the government continues to invest heavily in education and as such the nation expects a return on this investment.
Tsogwane said the teacher is at the centre of unlocking the return by ensuring that the learner is assisted and facilitated as best as possible.