SA benchmarks Bots education

Gaborone – South Africa has dispatched a six-member delegation from its parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Basic Education to Botswana for a five-day visit to learn best education practices.
The delegation will learn how to improve the quality of education, investigate the alignment of Education Acts and departmental policies with the success of their education system.
It will further explore the system of Early Childhood Education Development (ECD) as well as gain insight on how Botswana managed to reduce the achievement gap among learners.
The head of the delegation, Hope Malgas revealed that there is a lot that South Africa can learn from Botswana in terms of best education practices.
“South Africa is a young democracy having gained independence in 1994 and that it is willing to learn how Botswana managed to offer quality education in both primary and secondary schools,” she said.
According to Malgas, Botswana has reached a stage of stability earlier than South Africa, as its education system dates back to 1966.
“We have been impressed and would like to establish how the Botswana education system manages to be among the highest in Africa in literacy and numeracy,” she said.
She cited the African market and analysis rating, which indicate that Kenya is leading while Botswana is on third position whilst South Africa is ranked ninth, especially in subjects such as Science and Mathematics.
“Some teachers have a serious knowledge and content gap in the Science and Mathematics subjects.
“Lack of resources in the teaching of these subjects is also a challenge. South Africa is also faced with a lot of challenges such as school dropouts, especially at or before Grade 9, coupled with teenage pregnancy among students,” Malgas said.
South Africa, Malgas said, prioritises basic education as well as teacher welfare and is, therefore, looking at enhancing development in that area.
“Our country, is faced with a challenge of lack of commitment to education among some learners as well as some teachers, hence, our visit to Botswana to learn how to create interest among students and teachers as this would improve learner outcomes and achievements,” she said.
The deputy permanent secretary for Regional Operations in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, David Ratsatsi, said though Botswana has a matured education system from the times of independence, it still faces some challenges.
“Instead of dividing the ministry into two, like in South Africa where you have the Ministry of Basic Education and Higher Education, we rather enlarged portfolios of management and have four deputy permanent secretaries responsible for managing various departments under the same ministry,” he revealed.
Ratsatsi said in order to develop interest among students and teachers on numeracy and literacy, the ministry has long resolved to have mathematics, science as well as English and Setswana languages as core subjects.
“This has led to students’ compulsorily taking these subjects from primary to secondary education and thus raising the level of knowledge on numeracy and literacy among Batswana students,” he said.

July 2013
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