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Teachers Day

Publishing Date : 06 June, 2017

Author : Tobokani Rari

Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU) would like to congratulate its members, all teachers, and the general teaching profession on their day, the Botswana Teachers Day.


There is no iota of doubt that teachers of this country have put immense and tireless efforts towards the development of the country, hence the need not only to thank them, but also to thunderously applaud them. In our view as BOSETU, there is no iota of doubt that, teaching remains one of the oldest professions that is not only core, but also fundamental in the development of any country.


This view that we hold so dearly as BOSETU, has been emphasized and replicated many times through one of the oldest phrases that “teaching is the mother of all professions”. Teachers have taught, trained and produced skilled manpower, and human resource for this country from scratch since the period that the country attained independence in 1966. Almost 51 years down the lane, we now hear of phrases such as saturated labour markets, phrases that were not part the vocabulary of Botswana during the time when we attained independence. This is owing to the fact that teachers have soiled, toiled and labored very hard for the country to reach such a status.

 We as BOSETU, are however worried and troubled by the fact in spite of the obvious centrality of the teaching profession in the development of the country, teaching remains unrecognized and neglected. The education system in terms of structures and policies is as well neglected if not if not abandoned, while the conditions of service for teachers remain deplorable.

In Finland for instance, a country with a human resource driven economy rather an economy driven by natural resource, as is the case in Botswana, education is a dominant sector in resource allocation, and teaching is the highest paying profession. We urge Botswana to adopt the Finland education system that thus far is regarded as the best in the world.

As we celebrate this year’s teacher’s day we need to seriously introspect in an endeavor to extrapolate, canvass and ponder on the challenges facing the education system and teaching as a profession in this country. As this country celebrates with the teachers we be should alive to the fact that we do so at the time that the final results for national and international examinations across all levels are at their lowest ever. It is therefore up to us as teachers, stockholders and government to use this opportunity to introspect.

The absence of a two – tier education system

As we gather and celebrate this important day, there is dire need look at this thorny policy of automatic progression in our education system. While we as BOSETU are cognizant of the commitment of our republic to the principles of basic universal education, and the Education for All initiatives, we take a different understanding of these principles.


While government seems to view this as meaning catapulting all students irrespective of whether they have done well or not academically, we take a dim view of that understanding. As BOSETU we have in the past continuously agitated for a two – tier system of education in which both academic theoretical oriented education and the vocational oriented one would be given equal opportunities and such avenues created at an early stages.


This two – tier system of education would would provide for a dual pathways system in which, during the early years of the child’s education, talent and potential would be identified and students would be channelled to the right and relevant persuasion.

Class Sizes

On this noble for the noble profession, it is critical to ponder on the issue class sizes. Class sizes are critical in any educational system as they translate into a workload for a teacher. It is actually a ratio of students to a teacher and it signifies the workload of a teacher in relation to teaching and learning. The government of Botswana does not have a clear-cut policy on class sizes.


The Revised National Education Policy on Education of 1994 recommended that class – sizes be reduced to 35 in elementary schools and 30 in secondary schools. In spite of the fact that government has adopted the recommendation, it was never implemented, and on the contrary, classes keep on increasing as we currently have schools with 50 students in a class. The large class sizes have adversely affected the quality of education in this country.


There is abundant evidence from research that the less students are in a class room, the more likely that a teacher would have more time with each one them and more likely that the teacher would use student centered methods that are more effective.  On the other hand, the more students are in a classroom, the more likely that the teacher would not be able to give each student enough attention in a classroom and is likely to use transmission methods that are less effective.

The view of BOSETU is that the class size policy of government should be put at the ratio of 1:25, which would be in line with the international standards. The Education International, an international body affiliated by teacher organizations and teacher trade unions world wide, puts the affordable student – teacher ratio at 1:25. It is in this same vein that we contend that there is no saturation of teachers in the market, as classes in schools need to be divided into two hence the need for more teachers.

In – Service training for teachers

It is paramount to note that the dynamics of the teaching profession is such that the teaching content and methodologies keep on changing and as such there is a dire need for teachers to be upgraded and up skilled. Any government that endeavors to have an efficient and effective teaching service needs to have due regard for an in – service policy aimed at upgrading, up – skilling and re – tooling its serving crop of teachers.


The teaching methodologies change and so is the syllabus content. Our view is that government is concentrating more on inspectorate to the negligence and detriment of in - service training. BOSETU’s view on this matter is crisply clear that government should develop and adopt a clear in – service policy.

Disparity in resources

It is quite evident from the recently released JC final examination results that schools in towns and major villages are doing significantly well when compared to schools in the far – flung areas in the not so developed areas of this country. It is common cause that such disparity in terms of resources needs to be addressed.


Our view as BOSETU is government needs to move swiftly to provide as a basic fundamental right, the internet, computers and even ipads to all students especially those in rural areas to use for research in their studies. Our view is that this will go a long to close the gab of resources between schools in towns and those in rural areas.



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