Park City Mathematics Institute
Secondary School Teacher Program
Education System in Botswana - Youngson Sinkala

Youngson Sinkala spoke on the education in Botswana.

EDUCATION SYSTEM IN BOTSWANA

I will confine myself to

  1. The general objectives
  2. Efforts made to achieve them
  3. Educational Institutions
  4. School establishment
  5. Math syllabus and the grading system

OBJECTIVES

  1. TO RAISE THE EDUCATION STANDARDS AT ALL LEVELS
  2. TO EMPHASISE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
  3. TO MAKE EDUCATION RELEVANT AND AVAILABLE TO A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
  4. TO IMPROVE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN COMMUNITIES AND SCHOOLS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO ACHIEVE THE OBJECTIVES?

  1. (i) Budget allocation always favorable
    (ii) Employs and motivates highly qualified people
    (iii) Continuous training of teachers through in-service training and further long-term studies.
    (iv) Introduction of the Performance Based Reward System
  2. (i) Government has built Brigades, Vocational training colleges And continues to expand the existing University to include other disciplines
    (ii) Free bursaries are given to students pursuing science-based careers.
    (iii) Implemented a system whereby math, science and Design & Technology (termed scarce skills) teachers were paid more than other teachers.
    (iv) Computer Labs are built in all secondary schools
  3. (i)Consults with commerce and Industry on the manpower needs of the country,
    (ii) Schools built all over the country and every eligible pupil has free access to grade 1 through to grade 10 (i.e. every one is entitled to 10-year basic education). As an encouragement, free meals are provided in the morning and at lunch.
  4. (i) Board of governors and PTA members of schools drawn from the community.
    (ii) Consultations with the community are made before any decision is made concerning the education system.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

NURSERY AND PRE-SCHOOLS
These are left in the hands of the private individuals. There are Tswana and English medium schools.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS (GRADES 1 TO 7)
Most of them are Government run and are Tswana medium schools. The private ones are English medium schools.

COMMUNITY JUNIOUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS (CJSS) (GRADES 8 TO 10)
There is a 100% progression from Primary school to CJSS. Subjects taught here are English, Setswana, Science, Math (compulsory) Agriculture, Religious Studies, D&T and Social Studies. Guidance and counseling is taught as enrichment subject to everyone. Teachers are drawn from colleges of Education.

SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS (GRADES 11 & 12)
About 51% of CJSS students progress to senior secondary school. Subjects taught are English, Math, Science, Setswana (As compulsory ones), Agriculture, Religious studies, D&T, History, Geography, Development Studies, Literature in English, Computer studies and Environmental studies. Guidance and counseling is offered as enrichment to everyone.

POST SECONDARY
The university was established in 1964 as BOLESWA (Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho University). In 1982 the University of Botswana became an independent institution. A medical school is about to be established. The University absorbs only a few high scoring students from senior secondary schools. Some go to the private University.

Vocational Training Colleges and Colleges of Education take the second best.

The rest find themselves in Brigades and of course there are those that find themselves with nothing to do.

SCHOOL ESTABLISHMENT

Assistant Teacher
Teacher
Senior Teacher 2
Senior Teacher 1
Head of Department (HOD) (Sciences, Humanities, Practical subjects, Pastoral)
Deputy School Head
School Head
Deputy Head and HOD are at the same operational level

MATHEMATICS SYLLABUS (4 years old)

The syllabus followed is called the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education ( BGCSE) and is tailored in the lines of the British GCSE. It is broken into the CORE and EXTENSION parts. Examinations consist of Papers 1&2 (core) and papers 1,2&3(extension). Papers 1 and 2 are the same for both groups. Paper 3 is for those that are good in maths. It is supposed to have project work on its full implementation, after the training of teachers in project assessment. The challenge is to motivate students to like and do well in math.

GRADING SYSTEM

 % Mark                  Symbol

90------100                A*
80------89                 A
70------79                 B
60------69                 C
50------59                 D
40------49                 E
30------39                 F
20------29                 G
 0------19                 U

NB: This is subject to moderation.     

CHALLENGES:

  1. Getting more people going to senior secondary and colleges of higher education.
  2. The control of the spread of HIV and AIDS, which forces government to divert resources, which could have otherwise been used to expand the education system.
  3. Control the growing unemployment.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0314808 and Grant No. ESI-0554309. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.