As we celebrate the country’s independence, government should seriously reflect on its elections commitment of attaining a knowledge - based economy.
As we celebrate the 55th independence of Republic, we need to point out that our education system needs to shed away the colonial costume that it is dressed on and adopt a new costume that would respond to the current needs of the economy. As a country we need to open real education alternative pathways for our children in an endeavor to have the economy of the country driven by different sectors if we are to achieve a knowledge - based economy. We need to do that by having different academies of different sectors to channel our students towards. These would include among others, building the following sector academies; sports and culture, vocational, scientific, hotel, catering and tourism, agriculture, technology and IT, etc.
There is no doubt that we celebrate the 55th independence of the Republic when our education system has been totally knocked down to its knees by the ravaging COVID – 19 scourge. Schools have been intermittently disrupted by closures in an endeavor to control the scourge, and in some instances, teaching and learning totally halted because of isolations and quarantining of students and the teaching staff. We are worried as BOSETU that in spite of these glaring loses of teaching and learning time, there is no tangible plan by the Ministry of Basic Education on how the curriculum would be resuscitated.
COVID – 19 has greatly and badly exposed our education system with over 80% of our schools without Information Technology platforms, and without internet connectivity that could support virtual learning on the eve of school closures and lockdowns. As we celebrate the 55th Independence of the Republic, we as a country, should introspect on our investment on IT and internet connectivity in public schools. There is no doubt that IT platforms and internet connectivity in schools is the future in education even post the COVID – 19 era.
As we celebrate the country’s independence, we as BOSETU, would like to pose and remember all the teachers and support staff in education sector who have succumbed to COVID – 19 related complications. The education sector is the hardest hit with a total about 128 teachers who have departed this world on account of COVID – 19 related complications. Our view is that government mishandled the COVID – 19 situation in schools when they resisted their closure even on the eve of the surges, and also later resisted the prioritization of the vaccination of teachers in spite of advice from BOSETU. The prioritization was later done way too late amid mounting pressure from the educators’ unions. BOSETU is the first union to call for the vaccination of teachers way back in October of 2020.
In conclusion, as the country celebrate the 55th independence anniversary, we pass our heartfelt condolences to families relatives, friends and comrades who have passed on due to COVID – 19 related complications, and we call upon the nation to continue to remain observing the laid down COVID – 19 preventative protocols during the eve of the independence holidays and beyond.
COMRADE PRESIDENT WINSTON RADIKOLO