President Ian Khama should apologise for the “irresponsible statement” he uttered to the effect that he does not read books because they are boring, an official of the teachers’ union has said. Tobakani Rari, Secretary General of the Botswana Secondary Teachers Union was responding to Khama’s shock admission during an exclusive interview with Botswana Guardian that he has no interest in reading books. Rari said Khama’s statement undermines the importance of education in the country and contradicts the pillars of Vision 2016.
“If pupils are aware that the president does not read they might also think that there is a short cut to success hence being totally misguided,” Rari said, adding that pupils are taught that success could be achieved through hard work and studying. A University of Botswana educationist who pleaded anonymity concurred with Rari. He said as the most powerful and influential person in the country the president should guard against contradicting the pillars the National Vision 2016.
He said this is because a number of children look up and even idolise the president and comments like that could give them the impression that they can become presidents without any interest in reading. “The truth is children can get privileges through education and reading is the most important aspect in learning,” the lecturer said. Reached for comment Minister of Education Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi said she was in no position of critiquing the president’s statement. “It is not my place to do so.”