Education in Botswana
Message from the Minister of Education and Skills Development
Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi
Botswana aims to achieve economic diversification and sustainable growth by positioning herself as a regional centre of excellence in education, training and research through the provision of a competent National Human Resources base. Hence the Government continues the commitment to provide Batswana with education and training opportunities. This is attributed by a significant allocation of resources by Government to education. Since 2004 to date, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development has been allocated between 27% and 30% of the recurrent budget.
The Ministry has noted the need to work with other partners who have been identified to be playing a critical role in the provision of education as a basic human right. In this regard, the Ministry has opted to intensifying partnerships with key stake holders who can better focus on delivering relevant education and training effectively to all. These are parents’ involvement, private sector involvement, accessibility to ICT by learners and teachers, empowerment of teachers and school leaders to bring positive change towards the achievement of the Country’s National Vision 2016 aspiration of ‘an educated and informed nation’.
A thriving further education and skills sector is seen as essential to deliver the skills required by individuals in this global competitive world. Therefore, the Ministry’s quest is to improve the quality and relevance of education and training, and further to train for the world. Hence, skills development is all about developing and implementing training programmes that empower individuals and enable them to participate positively globally.
Biography of the Honourable Minister
Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has Master of Science in Administration acquired in Central Michigan University in 1987. She also holds a Certificate in Journalism obtained in Mindolo Ecumenical Centre, in Kitwe, Zambia. She also holds a Public Secretaries Certificate-Local Government obtained in Kenya Institute of Public Administration in 1975 and a Diploma in Local Government obtained in Institute of Public Service in Connecticut –USA in 1981. The Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi was elected Member of Parliament for Serowe South Constituency in October 2004.
Joined Commonwealth: 1966
Population: 1,950,000 (2009)
GDP p.c. growth: 3.6% p.a. 1990-2009
UN HDI 2010: world ranking 98
Net primary enrolment: 87.1% (2007)
Adult literacy: 84.1% (2009)
Public spending on education was 7.9% of GDP in 2009. There are twelve years of school starting at age six. Gross enrolment ratio for all levels combined 71.6% in 2008 with a primary female-male ratio of 0.97:1 and a secondary female-male ratio of 1.05:1 (2007). The pupil-teacher ratio for primary is 25:1 and for secondary, 14:1 (2008). The private sector provides about one-third of secondary places. The school year starts in January.
The Brigades movement, now established throughout the Commonwealth, was founded in Serowe by Patrick van Rensburg to provide vocational training in skilled trades for early school-leavers.
There are about 30 vocational and technical training centres, four teacher training colleges, two colleges of education and one university, the University of Botswana. A second public university, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology is under construction at Palapye. The Institute of Development Management accepts students from throughout the region. Literacy among people age 15-24 is 95% (2009).
The Government of Botswana’s philosophy of basic education asserts that high quality education is a fundamental human right. It aims to promote all-round development of the individual; fostering of intellectual growth and creativity; empowerment of citizens to achieve their full potential; encouragement of moral, ethical and social values, cultural identity, self-esteem and good citizenship; and preparation of citizens to participate actively in further developing the principle of democracy.
In line with the government’s philosophy, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development has a dedicated Special Education Division to ensure equal access to and quality of education for learners with special needs, including children with visual or hearing impairment, mental handicap, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. The ministry also offers grants to NGOs offering educational rehabilitation.
In January 2009, the Ministry of Education’s Teacher Capacity-building Programme for HIV/AIDS was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards. Through a ‘talk-back’ television programme, teachers are able to confront their own fears, denial and secrecy surrounding the pandemic. The skills, knowledge and attitudes which they require are strengthened in the war against HIV/AIDS in which education plays a major role.