Inequitable education threatens national unity

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Consistent dismal performances registered by schools in the West and North-west districts threaten to destabilise the country, as the education system fails to unshackle them from poverty.

The Leader of Opposition (LOO), Duma Boko voiced this concern when delivering a special statement in Parliament on the 2014 Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Examinations (BGCSE).

Consistent to trends, Boko observed that schools in the West and North-western Botswana continued to under-perform.

If the grave state of the public education system was to continue, he said it could bring chaos as the economically disadvantaged students lead the pack in dismal performances. “Drawing on the logic of education as a means of unlocking people’s potential, it stands to reason that residents of these regions are marginalised economically relative to their counterparts in the eastern parts of the country where overall school performance is far much better,” Boko said.

“This has the potential to destabilise the country”.

He slammed the current unfair distribution and running of education. When properly run, he added that education is a potent nation-building tool.

“The performance of our schools, judged by the BGCSE results over the years, seems to negate this potential of education,” he said.

Due to the disparities in the local education system, private schools have become the default destinations for children of the poor, further sinking them into the “muck and mire of grinding poverty”.

“This is not out of choice but out of desperation,” Boko said.

He stressed the need to instill empowered leadership among the school management to ensure that they impart and inculcate a compelling vision to teachers and students alike for the enrichment and exciting learning experience.

The Minister of Education and Skills Development, Unity Dow questioned whether the opposition front had monetised the educational transformation that Boko is calling for.

At this Boko rubbished the system as one that cares about throwing money at problems as opposed to designing specific remedies to issues. “There is need for creative solutions fashioned and designed to solve problems as opposed to the amount spent,” he said. 

The MP for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane instead blamed the politicisation of the 2011 public sector strike for the bad BGSCE results. He accused opposition politicians of having used the strike to gain political mileage at the expense of the national agenda.

Not so, according to Boko who said the strike was born from government’s refusal to negotiate. He said the 2011 tools downing period was a turning point to a progressive socio-political climate in the country.

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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