The Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan calls for a multiple pathway curriculum. This is to facilitate equitable access to education by all, regardless of background, gender or any other condition. The same strategy calls for improved learning outcomes.
In a synopsis, this means that teaching strategies should be learner centric, intensify usage of ICT in teaching and learning, introducing school leadership training to turn around schools and improve learning resources and support systems to deliver the envisaged curriculum and assessment.
The approach to organising and operating an education system that is focussed on and defined by the successful demonstrations of learning sought by each student is known as Outcome Based Education (OBE) (Spady 1994:191).
Research has shown that the current curriculum is highly academic and lacks application. Assessment methodologies are highly inappropriate especially the 21st century skills which are not explicit.
The curriculum is highly teacher centred and exam driven. It is against this background that the Ministry of Basic Education has adopted Outcome Based Education (OBE) approach so as to curb the aforementioned gaps.
The In-service department has recently completed training of teacher-change agents on OBE in Maun. Key amongst the content is the emphasis for learner centred methodologies such as cooperative learning, experiential learning and understanding the Learning Outcomes.
Understanding what the learners should be able to do and figuring out the mode of assessment prior to the actual engagements of learning, is what differentiates OBE to the current situation. The change agents were therefore taken through this program so that they can later on resource their colleagues in their respective schools.
The move is meant to cultivate the school environments for the competence-based curriculum (multiple pathways).
The nation hopes to move from a middle-income to high-income country through the transition from a resource-based economy to a knowledge based economy. Key to this is the development of a knowledge worker, whose productivity is improved through innovations and knowledge creations.
This is the portion that the education sector has to make significant contribution. A 21st century learner would have skills of a knowledge worker. Through its various initiatives and programs, MoBE aspires to produce a 21st century learner. The adoption of Multiple Pathways and Outcome Based Education pedagogy is one important step taken in that direction.
In his speech at the just ended World Economic Forum, President Dr MEK Masisi said ‘We need an intense holistic review of our curriculums.
And we have to do this with a full understanding that the curriculum we are changing needs to be relevant in the years to come. So we need to design it in such a way that it can continuously change and allow for newer skills sets and newer knowledge bases to be absorbed’.
This is just to emphasise the importance of adopting a flexible competence-based curriculum that is responsive to the demands of the economy.
The head of In-service department Gwen Kgabi has asked the change agents to reach out to all teachers for better implementation of OBE. She put it to them that clarity, humility and drive for change will determine the success of this project.
Quality education is very much hinged to the quality teacher, thus MoBE values teacher training and continuous professional development in this regard.