President Ian Khama’s administration has launched an aggressive multi-prolonged strategy to bring sanity and dignity in public schools.
Documents seen by The Monitor suggest that Dikgosi, the army, police, and financial resources from Ipelegeng would be used to address issues of indiscipline in schools.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) is changing tact in its fight against indiscipline in public schools. The Ministry has come with multi-pronged strategy, which according to the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Unity Dow, would be launched in three weeks time.
In a Savingram dated April 15, 2015 addressed to regional education directors by MoESD permanent secretary Simon Coles states that President Khama is greatly concerned by the declining social values and lack of discipline in schools and wants action. “The ministry has been tasked to reverse this trend and put in place a comprehensive strategy to address the situation and report progress by the end of April 2015. As a simple step in the right direction it is important to ensure basic social values are apparent in the everyday aspects of school,” writes Coles. According to the PS the following should be made apparent in the everyday aspects of school: Greetings to all school staff with the appropriate formal address, standing up on entry of teachers into class, cleanliness of the learners, adherence to uniform and condition of study areas and surroundings, the discipline and table manners, to persevere in the face of challenges and succeed, honesty and integrity of their learners, to be caring and compassionate and assist one another and less fortunate members of society and to co-exist in harmony with each other and exhibit tolerance.
According to another document titled, ‘Indiscipline, social values, overtime and overhaul at Ministry headquarters to ensure efficient delivery’, Khama was briefed about the interventions and gave them his blessings. “The interventions presented to HE (Khama) were accepted and are to be auctioned, with minor change, i.e. to have one morning assembly in the morning and one staff meeting at the end of the day,” reads the document in part. Other interventions includes, engaging Dikgosi “…and agree that community or parent mobilisation falls within their sphere of influence and mandate.”
The ministry also agreed with Khama to consider engaging a ‘super prefect’ in schools. This will be a respected person from the community who would be paid through Ipelegeng funds, reads the document. The other intervention would be for MoESD to clean up its data and undertake a forensic audit. In this process the ministry would engage BDF and Botswana Police systems analysts.
To address alcohol and drug related abuses by the students, school management are encouraged to do the vetting, registration and monitoring of hawkers around schools.
“Random spot checks of drugs and harmful objects would be done. Schools are expected to introduce Student Crime Prevention Committee, to enforce morning assembly on alcohol and drug abuse immediately,” states the document. The proposed intervention would be piloted, sampled in senior secondary school and junior secondary schools in cities, towns and rural areas.
On vandalism of property the ministry wants the role of break and replace to be used immediately. This will see students taking responsibility to damaged property. “Schools are required to tighten and outsource security services immediately in school premises and learners would be engaged in maintenance such as cleaning, re-painting and minor repair work,” reads the document.