The department core mandate is to coordinate and provide basic education statistics, coordinate and conduct research, monitor and evaluate programmes and projects, and planning. The different units embarked on various projects with the intention to improve the quality of basic education
Review of the Guidance and Counselling Policy and the Pastoral Policy
As part of the Ministry of Basic Education’s commitment to respond to the current needs of learners and the demands of contemporary society the ministry decided to re-examine some of its policy frameworks and practices to ensure their relevance and effectiveness. This includes reviewing the guidelines and strategies for providing learner support through Guidance and Counselling and Pastoral Care. It was also with the realisation that despite the existence of these support systems in schools psycho-social problems, graduate unemployment, escalating crime, poor examinations results, and other issues facing Botswana society continue to rise.
Department of Education Planning and Research Services (DEPRS), therefore, commissioned the Botswana Education Research Association (BERA) to review and consolidate the Guidance and Counselling policy guidelines of 1996 and the Pastoral Care guidelines of 2008 into a single, updated and relevant policy framework that is responsive to the current realities and concerns of learners in Primary and Secondary schools. Such a review was to ensure that the new policy framework is also in line with the Inclusive Education Policy of 2011.
The review, which included a nation-wide study, document analysis, review of studies in other parts of Africa was completed in December 2018. From the report several recommendations addressing various areas of implementation and structures were made.
The policy recommendations covered issues of (i) collaboration, co-ordination and monitoring of services at different levels of implementation, (ii) work-load for those providing learner support, (iii) training and professional development of learner support service providers, (iv) career ladder and progression of senior teachers in Guidance and Counselling and Special Education, (v) resources and nature of facilities for learner support, (vi) location of learner support structures and facilities, (vii) definition and distinction of the roles and responsibilities of Pastoral Care and Guidance and Counselling, (viii) management and supervision of support services and programmes, and deployment and re-deployment of Guidance and Counselling and Special Education teachers. The policy document also includes proposed structures for learner support for both primary and secondary level.
Other important recommendations addressed Multiple Pathways particularly issues of assessment and placement of students in different pathways, the need for preparing the services providers on facilitating subject selection, career exploration, assessment of various things to consider when choosing career paths namely, personality, interests, values, beliefs, aptitudes, achievements, availability of opportunities for employment after completion in the selected career path.
The Ministry of Basic Education stakeholders and general public at large are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new merged policy.
The unit is the process of undertaking a study on “Teacher quality in Botswana”. A brief synopsis of the study is given below, Teacher education involves policies and procedures that are designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills that require to perform their tasks in the classroom, school and wider community. For an education system to prosper there is need for well-trained teachers. It is during the teaching and learning process that these teachers exhibit the knowledge, skills and attitudes they would have acquired during the training process. If well articulated, these would translate into student achievement in not only the academic result but also lifelong prospects.
The Revised National Policy on Education (1994) recommends improved pre-service training and continuous in-service training of teachers for professional and academic development with the view to improve instruction, create a poll of experienced professional for leadership and skills on staff performance appraisals. Teacher performance standards outline the knowledge and skills required of an effective teacher, they are the core of the evaluation process and offer a tool for teacher self-reflection, goal setting and ongoing processional growth. Through the Botswana Teachers Continuous Professional Development (BOTECPD) draft policy and the country has proposed teacher performance standard and competencies required of all teachers. The commencement of this policy will require teachers to progress on fulfilling certain requirement in terms of set competencies and standards and therefore there is need for improved teacher knowledge, skills, competencies, attitudes and values to match the 21st century expectations and globally competitive human resource.
The overall objective of the study is to carry out a baseline study on the skills and competencies teachers at basic education level possess to establish teacher competencies acquired through pre-service and in-service training for both primary and secondary school teachers, and, to determine the extent to which teachers at basic education level demonstrate key teacher performance standards and competencies in delivering their mandate. The specific objectives are to:
i. Establish teacher competencies acquired through pre-service and in-service training for both primary and secondary school teachers
ii. Determine the extent to which teachers at basic education level demonstrate key teacher performance standards and competencies in delivering their mandate to include but not limited to:
– Ability to demonstrate pedagogical expertise in the subject content;
– Ability to establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students;
– Ability to plan and deliver instruction; ability to reflect on own teaching practice;
– Ability to communicate effectively within schools and with stakeholders concerning the child’s education;
– Ability to demonstrate leadership; ability to engage in career-long professional development to improve own teaching practice.
iii. Determine teacher readiness level in implementing the 21st century learning skills.
education management in Botswana. The primary objective of this initiative (which commenced in 2002) is to automate core school administration and student management processes which will empower relevant stakeholders with appropriate monitoring, analysis and reporting functionality.
Currently, the EMIS provides limited functionality due to a partial automation of identified school administration and student management. The following three modules (out of the identified seven modules) of the EMIS are in use:
• Student Loan Management System
• Form 4 Selection System
• Grants Application System
Current challenges pertaining to the partial automation of the EMIS include:
• Manual processes
• Manual file storage and retrieval
• Disparate systems
• Inaccurate and inconsistent information
These challenges have compromised efficient and effective processing, monitoring, analysis and reporting of MOBE.
In an effort to improve the efficiency of school and student management processes, the Ministry has embarked on an initiative to develop a comprehensive Statement of User Requirements (SOUR) that will form the basis for an automated solution. The envisaged system will assist the Ministry in producing the requisite school and student management information, and provide pertinent analysis and reports to management and stakeholders.
The envisaged Education Management Information System (EMIS) will be a key enabler of enhanced planning and execution, leading to improved service delivery within the Ministry.
Planning is critical to an organization’s existence. The Department of Educational Planning and Research Services plays a vital role in the Ministry of Basic Education Planning. In order to be able to execute this well, the department embarked on skills development and six officers were trained on educational planning. The department produces data in the form of estimates and projections which are used in decision making for educational infrastructure development and planning in general.
The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ).
The SACMEQ project is a major cross-national study on the quality of primary education in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. The project mainly aims at building capacity in the member states’ ministries of education to monitor and evaluate the quality of their primary education. It is coordinated by the SACMEQ Coordinating Centre in partnership with UNESCO/IIEP which is situated in Paris. Fifteen Ministries of Education – Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania (Mainland), Tanzania (Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe – participate in this project. Four studies have been conducted since 1991. The fifth study was conducted in 2020 and Botswana is well on course to participate in the study. Preparatory work include piloting of instruments which was done in November 2019 and it has demonstrated that Botswana has the capacity to conduct the study.
Botswana is one of the United Nations member states that have adopted the 2030 Development Agenda for Sustainable Development. As such Botswana has bound itself to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Ministry of Basic Education is one of the key player in Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. The Department of Educational Planning and Research Services is a major player in tracking progress through the identified indicators. Recent data indicate considerable progress made on provision of Early Childhood Education by public schools. Five hundred and ninety public schools out of a total of seven hundred and fifty five public schools were offering Early Childhood Education.
The department often takes time off to contribute to assisting the needy. In 2018, the department donated to ten elderly people in Dibete while in 2019, the department donated eighty seven pairs of shoes to Sesung Primary School in the Southern District.