Best performing students in Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), Junior Certificate Examinations (JCE) and Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) were on Thursday honoured and in pomp and song by the Botswana Examinations Council in partnership with the Ministry of Basic education for passing 2016 final examinations with flying colours. While in the PSLE and JCE categories the Top 10 achievers came from different schools each, in the BGCSE category, St Joseph’s college proved to be a force to reckon with by claiming half (five) positions in the Top 10 spots, followed by Mater Spei College and Naledi Senior Secondary School with two top achievers each. The other position in the BGCSE Top 10 was claimed by Selebi-Phikwe Senior Secondary School. Top three candidates in the BGCSE were also celebrated and awarded for their sterling performances. The first position dubbed the ‘Golden Star award’ was scooped by Kago Motsoma of St Joseph’s college, while Mater Spei College’s Agetha Susan Charlie came in close at second position followed by another St Joseph’s College top achiever Refilwe Obonetse Kebadireng at third position. Special needs Education Top Achievers at PSLE, JCE and BGCSE were also recognised and awarded for an outstanding performance. Top achievers were selected from Visual Impairment and Hearing Impairment in all categories. Arnold’s English Medium Catholic school was awarded the best PSLE school/Parents and Teachers Association while Nanogang Junior Secondary School was awarded the best JCE School /Parents and Teachers Association and St Joseph’s College scooped the best BGCSE school/Parents and Teachers Association. When giving a key note address during the awards, President Ian Khama congratulated all stakeholders who contributed to the learners’ outstanding performance. “It is indeed a joyous occasion to celebrate and honour not only the 37 young pupils who will be receiving various awards, but also the many players who have contributed in different ways to their success such as the parents, teachers, Non-Governmental Organisations, private sector, as well as the Ministry of Basic Education,” Khama said.
According to Khama, it is important to recognise and celebrate this outstanding performance because it is crucial to motivate those still in the school system to strive for better results. He said the awards, therefore, contribute in no small measure towards improvement of education in the country. “For those we will be honoring today, there is the additional advantage of being supported by Government to access top academic programmes in tertiary institutions in the country and for some outside the country. Government will continue to support this important cause as education remains one of the surest ways to uplift the lives of Batswana.” Said Khama. According to the president, as a result of such ceremonies and other inputs, particularly by Government, signs of improvement in the quality of performance in the examinations had started to show, adding that to this end, for the past two years now, quality grades at both JCE and BGCSE have assumed upward trajectories. “Another positive change we have observed in this regard is that candidates are now striving to perform above the standards set for the awards. At the BGCSE level for instance, some awardees are now obtaining 9 straight A*’s as opposed to the 6 A*’s trend of the past. This is a most encouraging development and reflects the positive impact that these awards have made on learner performance,” he said. Khama also commended the top achievers for a job well done and encouraged them to continue working hard as their temperament, ability to stay focused and not to be distracted by trivial things, commitment to work even harder, and choice of appropriate career are crucial elements for the future development of the country. He expressed his ‘sincere appreciation’ to the private sector for their continued support for the awards and acknowledged and expressed gratitude to the BEC and MOBE, as well as other stakeholders, for organizing the event. Khama was also given the honours of awarding the Golden Star or the Presidential Award to the top performing student at BGCSE level.