The education crisis which has gripped the country for the past four years with academic results taking a nose dive has hit hard in Bobonong constituency.
The area which has an enrollment of over 11 000 students both at Primary, junior and senior secondary schools has seen their performance sliding further down.
Area Member of Parliament Shaw Kgathi said on Friday that the poor results of students especially at Matshekge Senior Secondary School is of great concern and increases the number of unemployed youth in the constituency. “A major challenge and concern with respect to education in the area is the continuing pattern and trend of poor results at our junior and senior secondary schools,” he said.
Out of 800 students who sat for the Botswana Government Certificate in Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations in 2014, only 160 managed to get five credits or more which is only 19.07 per cent while at junior secondary schools only 8.07 per cent managed to pass with merit, A or B.
Asked what could be the problem facing students in his constituency, Kgathi said school authorities have informed him that lack of parental guidance is one of the main issues and shortage of teaching materials. The other problem according to Kgathi, who is also Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, is drug abuse which is prevalent in schools especially marijuana. In 2015 alone Bobonong police have apprehended 16 students who were found in possession of marijuana. “As minister in charge of security I am going to work hand in hand with officials at ministry of education to try and combat the problem in schools,” he said.
Poor results in schools according to Kgathi have led to the escalating problem of unemployment which he said is a challenge in the constituency. As a way of trying to motivate students, Kgathi who is a former teacher said he is going to bring together and work with alumni of each school to encourage them to assist.
Some of the successful people who are from Bobonong include prominent High court judge Justice Key Dingake, former Botswana Ambassador at United Nations Elijah Legwaila and former Debswana Managing Director Blackie Marole. Due to its proximity to the copper mining town of Selibe Phikwe, Bobonong is also struggling with the HIV/AIDS prevalence which is said to be high.
District AIDS Coordinator for Bobonong, Kabo Kgwaraga revealed that incidence rate in the area is 5.6 per cent while HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is at 18.9 per cent in a population of 70 000. Kgwaraga said their main problem is issues of funds as currently they are operating with recurrent budget which is only P140, 000 for 17 villages. Some of the mitigating factors to try and combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in the constituency, according to Kgwaraga are through workshops to raise awareness among the community.