Ministry of education anticipates bad 2021 academic year

  • Minster says rising COVID-19 cases disturb learning in schools
  • Teachers’ unions maintain their stance on closure of schools

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: The Minister of Basic Education (MoBE), Fidelis Molao says that the ministry is anticipating the worst with regards to the 2021 academic year due to the aggressiveness of COVID-19 in schools.

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Making the statement at the recently ended Parliament, Molao painted a gloomy picture of the 2021 compared to last year. COVID-19, according to the Minister has forced some schools countrywide to suspend teaching for days as facilities are used as both quarantine and as isolation centres.

In the first quarter of the academic year, Molao said the fraternity lost 25 teachers and 12 support staff to COVID-19 related complications. This resulted in teachers’ unions calling for the closure of schools temporarily. Despite repeated calls by the unions, the Ministry of Education rejected the request, insisting that schools can only be closed under the advisement of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force Team.

The overall performance for all 2020 Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) candidates which includes government schools, private schools and private candidates indicated that 80.72% of candidates obtained Grades E or better (pass grades) compared to 84.76% in 2019 showing a significant decline of 4.04%.

The performance also indicates that 33.16% of candidates obtained Grades C or better (credit grades) compared to 35.38% in 2019 implying a 2.22% decline. On the other hand, the 2020 Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) overall performance indicated the
decline of 0.89 percent from the previous year’s results. Only the Botswana General Certificate for Secondary Education (BGCSE) recorded a slight improvement of results.
Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU) Vice President Mogomotsi Motshegwa said that they still maintain their call for schools to temporarily close in order to deal with corona virus.

“This year’s results are likely to go down because students and teachers are psychologically affected. What is even worse is that there is not psycho- social support in schools,” Motshegwa said.