The Africa Chess Confederation (ACC) Board has appointed Mothokomedi Thabano chairperson for Continental Chess under the Education Commission.
The term of office for the Commission is four years (2020-2024.) Thabano, who is the president of Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) accepted the appointment last week. He explained to Sport Monitor that his new role entails overseeing the project of using chess as an academic tool in Africa.
"To help learners to improve in academics using chess. This is mainly about education chess than sport competitive chess," he said.
Thabano is a member of the FIDE Chess in Education Commission, chaired by Grand Master Smbat Lputian from Armenia. He said as one of the two Africans who sit in Education Commission, he has been given the mandate to head the African continent.
"This is a positive thing for us and I believe the current Basic Education Minister, Fidelis Molao and his Permanent Secretary, Bridget John, could buy into the idea of having chess in education programme. This would surely elevate the academic performance
He said under the highly awaited objective based education due to start next year, chess as a mandatory course for all primary school could make a huge impact.
"Chess is a problem solving game which needs analytical skills, patience logic and other key skills. The idea is to have this across the continent. European parliament endorsed chess in education in 2011 and it has proved to improve academic performance tremendously," he said.
The new Continental Chess in Education Commission chairperson observed that in Africa, the main stumbling block would be resources to see the programme reach different parts of the continent. However, Thabano said the FIDE leadership is prioritising the project, so he remains optimistic it would succeed. He said training of teachers to take part in teaching chess as an academic tool is currently the primary goal of chess in Education Commission in Africa.