Crammed Classes Blamed For Poor JCE Results


The overcrowding of classes at Tlhalogang Junior Secondary School (JSS) in Borolong has been cited as the core reason behind poor showing in the Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) at the school this year.

Borolong residents unwaveringly pointed fingers at jam-packed classes at the junior secondary school, which they share with neighbouring Chadibe, for the dismal performance in the just-released JCE results.

The school got 30.4% with only three students obtaining grade A.

Only 26 students got grade B, 92-C, 152-D, 56 grade E and 69 were grade U. Most classes had, and still have close to 50 learners.

A total of 395 students sat for the JC examinations in the just released results, making the students highest registered from the school followed by Tsodilo junior secondary school in Maun.

There are no plans for the Ministry of Basic Education to construct new classrooms at this school because it has reached its full complement. However, parents have suggested that the ministry should consider constructing another junior school, preferably a unified school especially that there is no senior secondary school in their constituency.

The school enrols children from five primary schools located in Borolong, Chadibe, Makobo, Natale and Shashemooke, something that worries villagers looking at the rate at which these villages’ populations have been growing over the years. Located in the periphery of Francistown, the villages, chiefly Borolong, Chadibe and Shashemooke, have over the years been hard hit by an influx of people relocating from Francistown to the villages targeting cheaper accommodation. 

Residents said these people come with their children who they then enrol at the primary schools and later move on to  the only junior secondary school in Borolong.

Over the years, Borolong Primary School has been in the headlines for quite sometime concerning its school’s population.

The school has more than 1,000 learners despite the fact that primary schools are only allowed to cater for 800 pupils.

The numbers overflow to Tlhalogang Junior Secondary School.

Resident Wabuya Lentswe said he does not blame teachers for the school’s poor performance. 

Rather, he  condemned overcrowding of classes as the problem at the school.

He said on numerous occasions, he visited the school and discovered that teachers were faced with a huge challenge of being overwhelmed with learners.

“Student-teacher ratio is a concern at our school. Imagine a teacher being forced to teach 45 to 48 learners! This is sad. There is no way our children could pass when they attend classes with such huge numbers. Class sizes should be reduced to at least 30 learners, not what is happening now.

“Just imagine that if a student sitting at the back of the class, he or she would not be able to hear the teacher at the front. It is sad, and there is no way we can expect good results,” said Lentswe.

Another resident Chebukani Letsholo echoed Lentswe suggesting another junior school should be built in any of the villages as a panacea for the high numbers that Tlhalogang JSS is currently faced with. “We need a unified secondary school to cater for these escalating student numbers looking at the school’s student-teacher ratio. We need a unified secondary school because at the moment our children are struggling with being sent as far as Mmadinare and Nata to boarding schools,” Lentswe said. Chedu Makgabana was of the same opinion as Letsholo, blaming the school’s over-population as the reason for the poor performance.

She said Orapa JC that scooped position one has 15 to 20 learners per class and they are able to hear their teachers carefully.

“As we speak, in my daughter’s class there are 50 in total and you can imagine the struggle that they face on a daily basis to hear their teachers, especially the ones at the back. This is a serious matter. We need another junior secondary school to cater for the five villages,” Makgabana said.

Reached for a comment on the matter, the area Member of Parliament and assistant Minister for Tertiary Education, Fidelis Molao conceded Tlhalogang JSS was overcrowded, but said the school has reached its full complement therefore it cannot have more classrooms than it already has.

“Two years ago, more classrooms were constructed at the school hence the ministry can no longer build more. Usually parents are the ones who will be begging the school management to enrol their children despite the school having reached the numbers to cater for,” Molao said.

He said parents should consider sending their children to other schools, especially those renting houses in the villages affected because they commute to work in Francistown daily. 

He said people who continue to seek accommodation in Borolong and Chadibe villages whilst working in Francistown have exacerbated the school’s situation.

“They commute to Francistown daily, hence could be better off if they can consider enrolling their children amongst schools in Francistown and go with them every morning to relieve the overcrowding in Tlhalogang JSS.  This is one of the major causes of students causing congestion at schools in those villages. In the current plan (NDP 11), no new secondary school has been accommodated anywhere in the country. We have to do with what we have,” Molao said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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