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Are public schools conducive to learning?

MMAOTHO SEGOTSO
“Good schools underpin not only our economy, but the social fabric of our lives.” Donald L. Carcier

Children spend their maximum time at school. The school then, becomes a major factor influencing how they view, comprehend and adjust to casino the world as they grow. Schools, being the second home, serve a number of purposes in a child’s life. From boosting their confidence to making them learn the importance of team work and socialisation and even basic hygiene practices. Schools canlı bahis siteleri are consequently home away from home and should be conducive to tipobet both growing and learning.

School buildings, whether new or partly refurbished, can facilitate and display its vision or the lack of thereof. They should be welcoming and uplifting, providing a sense of ownership and pride for pupils and staff. Drab and rundown buildings speak of an institution without vision and motivation to which people come to while away time. Government’s commitment to education is thus communicated through its educational infrastructure and its maintenance.

Basic education infrastructure are canlı bahis teaching/learning and staff spaces: classrooms, laboratories, playgrounds, school halls, kitchen, dining halls, extracurricular deneme bonusu workshops, assembly area, libraries, computer rooms, work rooms, counselling rooms, sick bays, sanitation facilities, staff workrooms and lounges as well adequate staff accommodation.

Learners should also be provided with benches where they can sit during breaks. Where agriculture is offered, there should be places for practical: gardens, poultry houses, rabbit houses, fisheries, kraals…

In the case of boarding schools, it is even more critical for unlike a day-school, a boarding-school doubles as a home. Therefore, the boarding facilities should be up to standard, hygienic, with proper ablution and bedding. In fact, that Botswana government does not have a policy that makes it mandatory for health inspectors visit boarding schools regularly is irksome!

Inclusive Education policy also dictates tipobet that there be specialised facilities for children with learning disabilities.

These facilities are essential and must be provided, then and only then, can we talk of learning taking place.

Most JSS were built when the education system changed from 7+3+2 to 7+2+3 (1987). This meant that, there were fewer learners doing JC as there were only two forms: one and two. Plus, there were only10 subjects: CORE: Setswana, English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Agriculture, Social Studies and Christian Religious Education (7); OPTIONALS: Design and Technology (Technical Drawing), Home Economics and Art (3). JSS’s at the time were able to carry the number of learners, 12 classrooms were enough for 6 form one and 6 form two classes. Plus, the national population at the time was still quite low. 

The system would later revert to 7+3+2 to cater for the provision of ten-year basic education. The RNPE also recommended that the number of practical subjects offered be increased. This saw the introduction of Accounting, Office Procedures, French, Physical Education and deneme bonusu Music Education as optional subjects. Moral Education was also introduced as a core Subject.

An avalanche of problems ensued from the 7+3+2 and new subjects. Form threes now have to be accommodated in schools that have 12 classrooms. Nothing was done to increase the number of classrooms despite the fact that the Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) recommended that the number of classrooms at JSSs be increased to 22.

The increase of population resulted in an increase of school going children. We have seen class size reach 60 despite the RNPE recommendation that at JC class size stands at 35. Overcrowded

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environments are stressful and can negatively impact the learning capabilities of children. It also is a health hazard to have learners crammed up in small spaces. One is thus left wondering if government really knows the value of infrastructure in education.

Over and above being inadequate, the buildings are dilapidated. Classrooms have no doors, window panes are broken, chalk and notice boards are dead, ceilings are either falling or have fallen. This is despite the fact that part of the money given to the education ministry must go to maintenance. Truth is children won’t feel satisfied in a place that lacks physical comfort. The classrooms are unable to keep the cold winter and the winds away. Not conducive to learning.

Because there are no classrooms to accommodate the six classes that came with 7+3+2, work rooms and labs have been converted to classrooms. Science labs have been vandalised, resulting in science being taught orally. The result is evident as science continues being failed dismally for, well-equipped labs enable learners to perform lab activities more effectively.

This however has no solved the class size issue. To alleviate the problem, some schools have now become 24 streams. This still leaves the shortage of teaching space as these new classes are taught outside.

The introduction of more subjects means creating space in the school timetables and base rooms. As classes rotate to ensure rooms are shared, some teachers find themselves teaching outside. The partitioning of the school hall too has not solved the problem.

And then there is Physical Education. The subject was introduced without a single thought as to what infrastructure it needs. Students go sweat and come back all sweaty to class. There has been no provision for ablution facilities in public schools as is the case elsewhere, unhygienic. In case where the school hall has been partitioned into classrooms the PE teachers find themselves at loggerheads with other teachers when they have to teach indoor sports like dance, gymnastics, badminton, ping-pong…

Music Education too is another subject that was introduced out of whim. The Music Lab should be designed like a studio and be sound proof such that music students do not disturb each and others during their practical but alas!

The problem of overcrowding and lack of classrooms also plagues primary schools, especially those in rural Botswana. Children are taught under trees in the rainy season and bitter cold. Skewed priorities! And we expect them to pass! Worse, these learners are expected to compete with other learners countrywide.

The health implications of inadequate toilets and sanitation are very serious. In some schools, especially primary in rural Botswana, learners still use pit latrines. How safe are these for standard ones?

54 years we are still archaic in how we think school facilities should be like. We want quality results out from education but are still not ready to put our money where our mouth is at. We preach globalisation but our education facilities scream 18th Century. “Properly planned school infrastructure is an out-and-out key factor in effective teaching and learning.” Geeta Varshney

There must be a serious paradigm shift on how we view education infrastructure. Not only should we commit to invest in infrastructure that matches where the world is at, we should also rehabilitate schools that are in disrepair.

We can’t be agitating about purchasing of fire power when our education lies in ruins! Talk about skewed priorities!



Educationally Speaking

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