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Botswana

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

With the exception of the University of Botswana, the Ministry of Education has authority over Botswana's educational structure. The Department of Curriculum Development plans, develops, and evaluates school curricula for primary and for junior and senior secondary schools. Each of the department's five divisions has a specific responsibility. The Curriculum Development Division operates through subject panels and promotes consultation in the development of educational programs. This division is responsible for reviewing, revising, and developing syllabi; for creating instructional materials; and for adapting published materials for curriculum needs. The Educational Publications Division is the public relations division of the ministry. It also provides supplementary materials for teachers and pupils. The Guidance and Counseling Division provides programs for career guidance and teacher training and is involved in material development. The Teaching Aid Production Division develops teaching aids primarily for use at the primary levels. These aids may be print materials or other instructional items, such as those used in science and mathematics instruction. The Educational Broadcasting Division develops radio lessons to support the school curriculum and provides teachers with notes to help them use the radio lessons. Most of these lessons are developed for the primary level.

The Examinations, Research, and Testing Division was at one time a part of the Curriculum Development and Evaluation Division, but has since become a semiautonomous unit. This division designs and implements national examination programs for primary and secondary systems and ensures that the exams meet acceptable standards in operational procedures as well as in technical quality. The division is also responsible for training teachers to develop criterion-referenced tests for classroom assessments.

The National Examination Board of the Ministry of Education conducts the Junior Certificate examinations in October and November. The "O" level examinations are written twice a year in June and November and administered by the Examinations, Research, and Testing Division.

Since 1987 public education in Botswana has been free except for the cost of school uniforms and other incidentals. However, impoverished parents cannot buy school uniforms for their children. Although a uniform is not required, not wearing one subjects individuals to peer pressure so often these children do not attend school. Education has always been given priority in national budgets. In the 1991-1992 national recurrent budget, 22.6 percent was for education. This increased to 30.5 percent the following year. An estimated 27 percent of government expenditures in 1999-2000 were spent on education. In 2000 education minister George Kgoroba proposed partial school fees, but it was doubtful such charges would be approved because of the government's financial reserves and the low economic status of many citizens. There have been some changes in school management, however, such as the privatization of catering services.

In 1992 the president commissioned a study to prioritize manpower needs essential to the Botswana's development. The most critical manpower shortage areas were in science and technical fields: medicine, accounting, engineering, actuarial science, and teaching of mathematics, science, and Setswana. The next most critical area was for vocations that seem unattractive to students: paramedical, teaching, and sub-professionals. The category prioritized as the third most critical identified vocations where there were too few individuals to meet the country's needs: law, public administration, human resource management, psychology, hotel and tourism, and fashion design. The fourth category identified those areas seen as beneficial to society and the economy but of less priority: library information systems, sociology, and land board administration. The final category identified those occupations described as beneficial to an individual or a small section of the economy: cosmetology, performing arts, and interior design.

In 1995 a Grant/Loan Scheme administered by the Department of Student Placement and Welfare (DSPW) went into effect. The program is designed to attract more students into critical occupations and professions. Students entering high priority areas receive aid priorities over those in areas deemed less essential. Career guidance units disseminate career related information and offer more professional student counseling. The number of students administered by the DSPW grew from 3,000 in 1991 to more than 4,300 in 1995. The projected number for 2001 is 7,000.

Another function of the DSPW is administrating programs for students who travel to other countries, primarily the United Kingdom or the United States, as part of their education. When the DSPW became responsible for these students, there were approximately 100 students traveling abroad, all in either the United Kingdom or the United States. In 2000, there were approximately 500 students in the United Kingdom and 300 in the United States.

Additional topics

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceBotswana - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education