Education system is under siege

Nicholas Mokwena - BG reporter
Monday, 27 January 2020
Education system is under siege

The education system will forever remain under siege post poor results every year until government truthfully addresses the pains that afflict it. This is the frank conclusion drawn by Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) Secretary General Tobokani Rari in response to the results of Junior Certificate (JC) exams. 

Botswana Examination Council (BEC), last week Friday released the results of the final Junior Certificate Examination for the year 2019. Of the 41 048 candidates who sat for the final JC examinations last year, only 37. 50 percent, which is 15 393 candidates, were able to attain an overall grade C or better, indicating a decrease of 0.02 percent from the 2018 results.According to Rari Government needs to candidly address issues of the ballooned class sizes, the collapsed in – service structures and function, reduced contact time due to    unresolved hours work quagmire, automatic progression policy, administrative crisis of schools. He pointed out that these are, but a few factors that have caused a dent to our education system.

“We have noted as well with disappointment that 62.5 percent of the total 41 048 of the 2019 JC candidates obtained overall grades D, E, U or X, effectively meaning that our education has failed to assist a total of 25 655 candidates to grasp basic numeracy, literacy and some lifeskills. “This indeed is a disturbingly high number which should be a cause for concern and worry for every Motswana. “We have further noted with devastation that 28.71 percent of the total students who sat for the 2019 final JC Examination obtained either grades E, U or X.

“In reality, this means that a total of 12 342 candidates have totally failed and would definitely not proceed to senior schools. “This is the number that our education system has, without any doubt, ejected out into the street. This number in our view is quite alarming and points to a crumbling education system,” said Rari who is also secretary general of BOFEPUSU. According to Rari BOSETU is of a strong opinion that the quality of any final year results in any country is as good or as bad as the education system of that country.
He posited that their longheld view is that the final year results mirror the country’s education system and provides an appropriate platform for truthful and candid introspection. 

“As a teacher trade union, we take the release of the Junior Certificate (JC) results very seriously, and we obviously take keen interest in the results themselves, and what they depict on the ground on a practical sense. “BOSETU takes the final year examinations and the consequent results across all streams, not only as a rite of passage of students to higher levels of education, but also as a yardstick which the quality and effectiveness of this country’s education system should be measured upon.”

Last year BOSETU President Wingston Radikolo told the union’s annual conference in Palapye that teachers find themselves in harsh working conditions, but said the issues should be reflected upon, and a way forward hatched. The BOSETU President indicated that in the years 2017 to 2019 they recorded 237 cases ranging from stress to depression among teachers. He said the causes were among others, the social environment in the workplace, failure to address grievances on time and opting for quick disciplinary processes.
“Stagnation, nepotism and favouritism, inadequate resources in schools and inadequate in-service training, are among the causes.

“In-service training has collapsed compromising teaching service delivery. BOSETU in the past two years sponsored 351 teachers to the tune of P3.8 million to pursue courses of their choice,” Radikolo told the conference.

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