Deteriorating performance in different levels of education continued to unravel on Friday when Botswana Examination Council (BEC) released BGCSE results for 2017. The results show a decrease in percentage of candidates who attained grades C or better. A total of 37 251 candidates sat for the 2017 BGCSE examination and 28.47 percent of those attained grades C or better, a slight decrease of just 0.06 percent from 28.53 percent recorded in 2016. There was an increase of 1 786 (5.04 percent) in candidature compared to the previous year at 35 465. Of the total number of those who wrote the examinations, 21 661 (58.15 percent) were females and 15 590 (41.85 percent) were males. Presenting the results, BEC Executive Secretary Professor Brian Mokopakgosi said the performance of the female candidates continues to improve compared to performance of male candidates. The proportion of candidates with 5 Cs or better who are female has slightly increased from 56.90 percent in 2016 to 57.92 percent in 2017 compared to their male counterparts whose grades have slightly decreased from 43.10 percent in 2016 to 42.08 percent in 2017. Prof Mokopakgosi said besides encountering challenges at the beginning of the marking process with the marking personnel they were able to release the results well on time and within schedule. For the past five years the pass rate, those awarded grades C or better in the BGCSE examinations has been ranging between 25 and 28 percent with the highest rate recorded last year at 28.75 percent while the lowest was 25.75 percent which was recorded in 2014. In 2013 the pass rate stood at 27.91 percent while in 2017 it dropped to 27.27 percent. The percentage of the candidates who obtained grade A or better stands at 2.70 percent, an increase form 2.56 percent recorded in 2016. This is the highest rate in the last five years since 2013 for those who got grade A or better with the lowest being 2.21 percent registered in 2015 during the five year period.
Secretary General of teacher trade union Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Tobokani Rari said Botswana's education system is in a comma. Commenting from Turin, Italy a disappointed Rari said even in the state that the education sector finds itself in, there is no sense of urgency from the political leadership to resuscitate it, and get it out of ICU. The allocation of resources in terms of budget allocation defies any iota of logic. The Education Ministers are helpless as cabinet allocates huge chunks of money to the security organs of Government and allow the petroleum fund and others such as the alcohol levy to be looted Willy nilly. "Government needs to get her priorities right in the knowledge that skilled human resource is the mainstay of any economy in that it can drive productivity and result in an economic boom, and consequently support the creation of the jobs. So, investing handsomely in education, especially public education helps to resolve any country's problems in a multi -faceted way. Why is this basic principle difficult to grasp?" he asked rhetorically.
Enumerating "a few" challenges besieging the education system, which he said need resources (funding) as early as yesterday, Rari singled out high student/ teacher ratio, shortage of resources (exercise books, text books, desks, chairs), under resourced technical departments (science laboratories, Design &Technology labs, Art Labs, Home Economics Labs), small stream schools that have become bigger, but not in correlation with the resources, hours of work for the teaching profession that leads to reduced contact time between learners and instructors, collapsed in-service programme for teachers and weak school managements. From time immemorial teacher trade unions have been trying to get Government to address the identified challenges without success. The same problems persist, with the problem reaching crisis level at the beginning of 2018 when some schools had up to 70 students per classroom. "The Khama administration is responsible for this ailing education system in our country. I feel strongly that as a former teacher, incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi should smell the coffee and redirect the priorities of his government and put on a different lens that would see education as the mainstay of the economy. His government need to adopt an approach of a human resource driven economy and move away from a natural resource driven economy. We need to cut on military spending and have resources channelled towards addr4essing problems in education," he said.