We are appealing to the conscience of Basic Education Minister Unity Dow to resign because her inactions are gradually leading to the collapse of the sector. Dow has shown gross incompetence and her continued stay as minister will collapse the education sector. We cannot watch and allow a situation where we have stampede in classrooms, shortage of textbooks, low teacher morale and bullying of teachers under Hon Dow’s regime. It is clear that since Dow took over, the quality of education in the country has dwindled. She has created a mess around levels of operations, teachers working hours, overtimes and peanuts payments for marking among other issues since her appointment. The focus of the educational system in general has been mainly quantitative, boosting enrolment numbers, and there has been insufficient emphasis on qualitative aspects for generating the standards of education against the recommendation of the Revised National Policy on Education 1994.The policy which Dow is expected to be the custodian of, clearly stipulates that class sizes should be reduced to 35 at Junior Schools and 30 in Senior Schools. Currently under Minister Dow’s regime we are experiencing ballooning of classrooms to the extent of 76 per class as it is the case with Ledumadumane Secondary School and 61 per class in Ditsweletse Secondary School.
Under her watch, our education sector has witnessed a sharp decline in the results of students after seating for Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE). The students’ performance has been appalling which now calls for immediate intervention. What is dis-hearting even more is that the situation is worsening every year raising concerns whether the educational system is falling most students. We have reached a point where unless something fundamentally different is done we are forced to accept that children will be relegated to the streets after the end of their stay in schools. One other interesting observation is that urban based schools tend to outperform the rural schools. This has been consistent over the years. We have an education system which has two sub-sets of schools. The urban schools such as Naledi Senior Secondary, Selebi Phikwe Senior Secondary, Mater Spei College and Josephs College are doing relatively well whereas rural based schools such as Shakawe Senior Secondary, Matsha College, and Goodhope Senior Secondary among others are continuously registering poor performance.
The BCPYL will put pressure on government to fire her if she refuses to resign because she can't do her job. The Minister has proven time and time again beyond reasonable doubt that her political party interest of bullying around civil servants like teachers comes before the greater good of Botswana Education. Our education has become the world’s biggest laughing stock; we have allowed government to sacrifice credibility and quality for quantity. In conclusion change in education is not an easy task that can be assigned to chancers like Minister Dow. To restore pride in our education, to take it to heights where it becomes the pride of the nation and it produces quality professionals and credible professions, we need to all call for the minister to do the honourable thing and resign.
Yours in Struggle
Cde Dimpho P. Mashaba
BCPYL Publicity Secretary