Botswana’s Education Acts, Policies and their implementation units

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The previous chapter covered the provision of education and its development on an international level with reference to Brazil, Italy, and countries from the Sub-Saharan Block of Education for All (EFA) (cf. 2.5-; 2.7-2.7.5; and 2.6 -2.6.4). The conclusion that the researcher reached was that currently the provision and development of global education is being shaped and influenced by trends emanating from global paradigms with the focus on common ethics, diverse learning, basic education for all, continuous assessment, and greater cooperation among nations.
In Botswana the rapidity with which education Acts are being legislated prevents its proper implementation, consequently leading to a disjuncture between the Acts enacted and the realities on the ground level, to the detriment of the learners (cf. 1.3 and 1.3.3 -1.3.5). In addition to the global trends with regard to policy, the provision and development of education in the country is also affected and influenced by traditional problems, such as capacity-building constraints.
The focus of this chapter is on investigating specific research objectives (cf. 1.8.1 and 1.8.2) namely, the extent to which the policy decisions, and its implementation, monitoring and assessment strategies in Botswana contribute towards learner dropout, and the extent to which these policy areas comply with the current global trends.
The objectives of the study necessitate discussing and comparing the relevant local education Acts, Policies, the mandated Bodies and their duties, as well as the training strategies of those empowered to make and implement the Policies and the Acts. The objectives also call for a discussion of the Education Policy and legislation processes, as well as particular Education Acts and Policies not being properly implemented. It also implies discussing the reasons for the improper implementation of the Acts, and its influence on learner dropout. The discussions will aid in ascertaining if the provision and development of education in Botswana comply with the current global trends as discussed in Chapter 2. Furthermore, the Inclusive Education Theory will be explored, and also the prescribed implementation strategies. The reasons behind the improper implementation of the theorists’ strategies within public schools will be discussed. Conclusions will be made after the discussion of each section to aid in reaching a final conclusion, and in making recommendations towards ameliorating learner dropout.

A diagrammatic presentation of the current education structure in Botswana

Figure 3.1 below gives a diagrammatic presentation of the current structure of the education system in Botswana, aimed at aiding an understanding of the Education Policy outlook that directs the Policy decisions and the implementation strategies within the system. Currently, the structure of the education system for the pre-primary level, the primary level and the literacy programme runs parallel and covers the contents of the foundation skills in numbers, words, and the acquisition of motor skills, as well as the adjustment to the learning environment. The literacy programme gained ground in the rural areas in the 1990s and helped in the provision of basic education (World Data on Education, 2006:4). The Adult Basic Education Programme (ABEP), launched in 2010 with the help of United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), also runs parallel to primary education, and both levels are monitored by the Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation (DCDE) (Botswana Review of Commerce and Industry, 2013:133).
Progression from primary to junior secondary school is automatic, in accordance with the ten-year basic education programme, though entrance to the senior secondary section is based on academic performance at junior secondary level. Vocational and national literacy programmes, as well as distance learning and part-time levels are strategies-launched, in addition to the formal education received at primary and secondary schools, to ensure that the goal of basic education is achieved. The final stage of the education structure is the tertiary level, which is aimed at absorbing secondary school leavers, to prevent them from dropping out, and training them on the professional level (Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MOESD), 2008: 30-31; UNESCO, 2011: 8).
The Education Acts and Policies to be examined below are those considered by the public to mostly contribute to learner dropout. The public’s perception on the link between learner dropout and the Education Acts was discussed in Chapter 1 (cf. 1.2.3 and 1.3.3-1.3.5).

The Education Acts of Botswana relevant to the study

Education Acts are bills passed by Parliament with regard to the provision and development of education. The thrust of the research aim is focused on those Acts of which the improper implementation could possibly be responsible for learner dropout. This makes it relevant to examine the Acts to ascertain if there is a link between them and learner dropout. The Acts described below govern the education of the country, and are supposed to be based on the country’s cultural values and needs. They are also those that prepare Botswana for global developments.

The Education Act of 1966

The Education Act of 1966 (Government of Botswana, 2010:3) provides the legal framework for the development of education within the country. This Act was revised in 1977, when Education for Kagisano was launched, in 1994, when the Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) was introduced, and in 2002, to incorporate tertiary education and to give powers to the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) to conduct examinations and to issue certificates (UNESCO, 20011:1; World Data on Education, 2006:6). At independence in 1966 Parliament passed the Education Act to replace the colonial Native Fund of 1904, by which the Batswana raised money to pay for their own education (Tlo & Campbell, 2001:290). The Education Act deals with the education structure, the various levels and the duration at each level, and the kind of certificate that is awarded at each level, as well as the mandated Bodies, the various Departments, and their duties (Dart, Chadwick, Davis & Molefe, 2007:3; World Data on Education, 2006:8). Policies regarding the provision and development of education emanate from the Education Act of 1966, and are therefore considered binding on the implementers.
The general public is of the opinion that the Policies that emanated from the above-named Act (i.e., Education for Kagisano) most of all contribute to learner dropout, because some of the strategies set up to ensure its proper implementation and sustainability (cf. 3.5.1) were either replaced or not used by the policy implementers, which could be leading to learner dropout (cf. 1.3.3).
The link between the above-named policy and learner dropout will be examined later (cf. 3.11.1; 3.11.3 and 3.11.7).

The Botswana Examinations Act of 2002

The Botswana Examinations Act of 2002 gave the BEC the power to conduct independent examinations and to issue certificates (UNESCO, 2011:2; BEC, 2008(a):2). In 1977 the NCE recommended the establishment of a National Examination Council (BEC, 2008(a):1). At a National Conference held in 1991 (in Gaborone, Botswana), it was declared that there was a need for an Examination Board that was in line with the national education goals, and was focused on course-work (World Data on Education, 2006:3). Prior to the Examinations Act, the Junior Certificate Examinations (JCE) were administered by the University of Swaziland, and later by the Universities of Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho, and the examination authority was based in Lesotho. The Form 5 school-leaving examinations were administered by the Matriculation Board, with personnel selected from Universities in South Africa (BEC, 2008(a):1). Localisation began in 1975 when Botswana established the Research and Testing Centre to conduct examinations at primary and junior secondary school levels (BEC, 2008(a):1).
Besides its main goal of nationalising the examination that focuses on course-work, the Examinations Act also has a number of other objectives.
Among the objectives is to give advice to the MOESD on assessment policies and programmes that would contribute to the delivery and achievement of the MOESD’s vision and targets. This implies that the BEC would steer the implementation mechanisms of the national curricula in the schools towards the realisation of the objectives of the Examinations Act (BEC, 2008(a):8). However, the BEC’s assessment syllabus diverges from that of the national curricula (cf. 1.3.4), and could be contributing to dropout.
Another objective of the Examinations Act is to support the MOESD by means of monitoring and evaluating teachers to ensure that the Act is properly implemented. The measures described above are aimed at generating feedback to inform decisions concerning policy, programmes and the implementation of the curriculum (BEC, 2008(a):8). Nonetheless, the BEC’s monitoring and evaluation methods do not always align with the MOESD’s monitoring and evaluation methods, and could be leading to learner dropout (cf. 1.3.4).
Another objective of the Examinations Act is geared towards providing training through appropriate assessment techniques that transform Botswana into a competitive and knowledge-based global economy (in accordance with the goal of Vision 2016 and the MOESD) (BEC, 2008(a):8). Nevertheless, the BEC’s findings (through Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)) revealed that the assessment standards in Botswana are lower than the international average (cf. 1.2.2). This could also be contributing to learner dropout.
A further objective of the above-named Act is to provide highly competitive standards, relevant and responsive qualifications and assessments, as well as examination services to Botswana (BEC, 2008(a):9). However, Borkum (2009:2) averred that the relevance of the BEC’s assessment procedures, in relation to their practical use after school, is too rigid, and not transferable to the field of work. Thus, the implementation of this objective could be contributing to learner dropout (cf. 1.3.4).
A five-year strategic plan was developed in 2008 towards the successful implementation, application and sustainability of the Examinations Act. Those strategies pertaining to learner dropout are discussed below.
Among the BEC’s five-year implementation plan is the appointment of an implementation and monitoring team, and personnel. This team would have the mandate to oversee that all the prescribed strategies are effectively utilised towards the achievement of the objectives of the Examinations Act (BEC, 2008(a):15). This strategy has an inherent problem, as the BEC does not have the mandate over internal monitoring activities (cf. 3.3.2). This hampers the BEC’s progress, and could be causing dropout.
The strategic plan also involves creating the division of compliance and quality assurance to formulate and ensure the implementation and equitable application of the Examinations Act, as well as policies formulated on the set objectives, namely by developing guidelines to encourage transparency. This entails enhancing the development of quality assessment instruments for examinations (BEC, 2008(a):15). Despite the intended aim of the above-named plan, transparency has not curbed learner dropout (cf. 1.2.2).
The conclusion drawn, based on the foregoing examination of the objectives and the strategic plan of the named Act is that the objectives and the strategic plan were set up to ensure equitable and fair assessment procedures that would prevent learner dropout. However, due to the practice of summative assessment at high-stake examinations the Act is deemed a major contributor to learner dropout in Botswana (cf. 1.3.4). This perception was confirmed by studies conducted by Borkum (2009:2, 4) and Ntumy (2010:67). These researchers found that school-leavers drop out because they find it difficult to transfer (to practice) the theoretical assessment skills (attained in school).


The Basic Education Act of 1991

After the adoption and the parliamentary ratification of the Jomtien Declaration of 1990 (EFA), a National Conference on education was held in June 1991 in Gaborone, Botswana, with the focus on meeting the needs of children, youths, adults, non-governmental organisations, as well as the private sector (NCE, 1993:42). The themes of the Conference were policy formulation, the improvement of the quality of education, school management and administration, as well as forming partnerships with the private sector in the provision of education. At this Conference it was declared that basic education should be compulsory and free (World Data on Education, 2006:3).
Though basic education was declared free until 2006, it was never compulsory (Botswana Federation of Trade Unions, (BFTU) 2007:2, 4; DCDE, 2007:4). The main goal of the Basic Education Act was clustered around the afore-mentioned themes. To ensure the applicability, success and sustainability of its goal, the themes were submitted to the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Policy Advisory Committee, and later to the NCE, who transformed them into the RNPE of 1994 (World Data on Education, 2006:3).
The stipulations of the Basic Education Act pertaining to learner dropout, are described below under the following four themes, namely Policy formulation. It covers the areas of the provision and development of pre-primary education, non-formal education and special education, as well as free and compulsory basic education. This entails ensuring that basic education is accessible to all.
Another theme was to improve the quality of education through the curriculum content and its delivery, pre- and in-service teacher training, as well as by means of the teachers’ working conditions. This theme was hampered by the lack of funds, which could be contributing to learner dropout (cf. 1.3.3 and 1.3.5).
School management and administration focused on the adaptation of infrastructure, mechanical and technological equipment, other learning material, as well as the better training of school administrators. The findings of the Division of Special Education (DSE) (2001:3) revealed a lack of equipment and staff, which could also be causing the dropout of the learners.
Building partnerships with the private sector, non-governmental organisations, and
communities, is the fourth theme, and it implies sharing the cost of financing education. The theme is being implemented through involving communities in the community junior secondary schools, and through giving grants to the churches and the non-governmental organisations towards educating special-needs learners (NCE, 1993:58-59; World Data on Education, 2006:3-4).
The themes described above are relevant to the research problem of learner dropout because they are aimed at combating dropout. It is important to have knowledge of the above themes because the implementation of the Basic Education Act on the ground level does not always use the above-prescribed themes (cf. 1.3.3), which could be contributing to learner dropout. The dropout statistics displayed in the tables in Chapter 1 proved the severity of learner dropout (cf. 1.2.2) in the country and the research region, despite the afore-named themes.
The above argument will be further discussed below (cf. 3.11.1 and 3.11.3).
In the sections that follow the developmental stages of the Education Acts and Policies are discussed. The current study is investigating if the role of the Education Acts and Policies in the provision of education is linked to learner dropout. This makes it important to examine how the Acts and Policies are enacted and formulated.

The stages in the development of the Education Acts in Botswana

Education Acts are legislated by the National Assembly. Education Bills are usually introduced into parliament and undergo three stages of reading, where they are discussed, modified and gazetted, before being signed into Acts of Parliament. The final stages of the Bills are discussed and modified by legal experts, such as attorneys, before appearing in the gazette and being signed by the President. Some Bills, such as the education budget, are discussed annually by the House of Chiefs who act as an Advisory Body to parliament, and thus advises it on the Bills brought to its attention (Tlo & Campbell, 2001:334-335).

The process of developing Education Policies in Botswana

Education policies are plans that emanate from Education Acts, and are accepted to be used in the provision and development of education by the MOESD (cf. 3.3.1 and 3.5). With regard to education, the National Council on Education (NCoE) has the responsibility to formulate policies. Usually education policies are launched after recommendations have been made by a Commission for Education. For example, Education for Kagisano was implemented in 1977, due to a recommendation made by the first National Commission on Education (Byram, 1980:1); the RNPE of 1994 was also launched after the NCE’s recommendations in 1993 (NCE, 1993:42), and Vision 2016 of 1997 was launched following the Presidential Task Group’s recommendations (Presidential Task Group, 1997:59). Education policymaking also involves introducing academic courses and programmes, and adopting strategies for teaching the courses. It includes modifying the existing Policies, as well as advising government on education policy issues (World Data on Education, 2006:7). Due to the Decentralisation Policy of 2008 (MOESD, 2008:2-3), the district offices are currently mandated to assist the NCoE in formulating Policies with regard to basic education in the primary schools (Bregman, 2008:xiv).
The policy of decentralisation will be further examined later in the chapter (cf. 3.10).
The NCoE personnel are lecturers at the University of Botswana and the Colleges of Education, and are therefore highly trained in their responsibilities of education policy-making. The activities of the NCoE are supervised by the Division of Planning, Statistics and Research (DPSR) that is mandated in the duties of the planning, monitoring, evaluating and co-ordinating of policy-formulation, and decisions on research issues (MOESD, 2008:9-10).
The Education Policies examined below are equally considered by the public to mostly contribute towards learner dropout (cf. 1.3.3-1.3.5). This is so, because the strategies set towards the successful implementation of the Policies direct and monitor the teaching activities, in addition to those of the Education Acts that were examined. Furthermore, the teachers do not always use the set stipulations of the policies which could be causing learner dropout (cf. 1.3.4).

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The Education Policies of Botswana relevant to the study

Education Policies do not go through parliamentary debates as parliamentary Acts, but are plans that are agreed upon by the MOESD to be used in respect of its activities by both policy decision-makers and policy-implementers (Government of Botswana, 2010:5).
The education policies examined below currently operate the education system.

Education for Kagisano (‘social harmony’) of 1977

Education for Kagisano emanated from the Education Act of 1966. This policy was launched, based upon the recommendations of the first National Commission on Education, appointed by the government after the enactment of the afore-mentioned Act. Education for Kagisano controlled education matters in the 1980s, and structured the education system to be an instrument in the production of a society whose characteristics reflect the five national principles in the pursuit of national social harmony (Government of Botswana, 2010:1). Its implementation strategies include equity in distributing resources among learners, and making education relevant to the world of work through vocational and polytechnic training, day schools, pure sciences, and a decrease in class size, as well as the hiring of high level manpower (Byram, 1980:101-104 & 590). The afore-named strategies are reflected in the objectives of the school subjects and the teaching strategies of the DCDE (2007:5-6).
Even though the strategies of the above Policy are included in the subject syllabi of the public schools (DCDE, 2007:5-6), its focus of relevance to the world of work through the pure sciences was replaced by Doubles Award Sciences. An increase in class size also prevented quality teaching, and the strategy of hiring high level manpower has not been adequately met. The afore-named reasons could be contributing to learner dropout (cf. 1.3.3-1.3.5). The link between the above-named Policy and learner dropout will be discussed below (cf. 3.5.1 and 3.11.1).

The Revised National Policy on Education (RNPE) of 1994

The RNPE emanated from the Basic Education Act, and covers a 25-year duration that called for the introduction of the three-year Junior Certificate by 1996, and the diversification of the Junior Secondary curriculum, as well as the review of the primary school curriculum (DCDE, 2007:4; NCE, 1993:xxvii). The RNPE identified the objectives of education as preparing Botswana for the transition from a traditional agro-based economy (under Education for Kagisano) to an industrial economy, which would enable the country to compete in global developments. The RNPE’s main strategy is basic education for all and the broadening of the sciences through Single and Double Awards Sciences (NCE, 1993: 139).
The following objectives of the RNPE are of relevance to the current research problem.
One of the objectives of the RNPE is to increase accessibility, equity and educational standards at all levels of learning. This objective implies the accessibility of basic education to all learners at the pre-primary, the primary, the junior secondary, and the non-formal levels, as well as for special-needs learners. The Inclusive Education Policy emanated from this objective (BFTU, 2007:4). Nonetheless, pre-primary education has not yet been implemented within basic education (Central Statistics Office (CSO), 2010:13).
The RNPE’s objective also includes improving quality, and maintaining this quality at all levels. The above-named objective is based on the notion that the provision of basic education to all might compromise quality (DCDE, 2007:8). The objective of combining quantity with quality is often difficult to implement by developing countries (EFA, 2008: 21). Newton (2002:45) posited that the public schools in Botswana are under-resourced, overcrowded, and lack quality.
Another objective of the RNPE is to provide lifelong education and training to all sectors of the population. Learning should not end after the basic education phase, irrespective of the grade attained. Provision should be made apart from senior secondary school to provide other forms of learning after basic education (NCE, 1993:58). Despite the afore-named objective, the Ministry of Labour Affairs (2004:1) and Borkum (2009:40) reported that the majority of school-leavers drop out after secondary school.

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 Botswana’s Education Acts, Policies and their implementation units
1.4 Further justification for the study
1.5 The problem statement
1.6 The research questions
1.7 The aim of the study
1.8 The research objectives
1.9 Research methods: The choice of three approaches to carry out the investigation in the study
1.10 Theoretical orientations of the study
1.11 Benefits of the study
1.12 Limitations of the study
1.13 Definition of the terms
1.14 Further structure of the study
1.15 Concluding remarks
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Education Policy
2.3 The relevance of the Education Acts of Brazil, Italy and the Sub-Saharan Block
2.4 Defining basic education
2.5 Education Policy: The formulation, implementation, monitoring, and assessment in Brazil: Introduction
2.6 Education for All and basic education: The introduction, goals, and strategies of the Sub-Saharan Block of Education for All
2.7 Education Laws in Italy: Its formulation, implementation, monitoring and Assessment: Introduction
2.8 Concluding remarks: The relevance and implications of the education policy theoretical framework for the study
3.1 Introduction
3.2 A diagrammatic presentation of the current education structure in Botswana
3.3 The Education Acts of Botswana relevant to the study
3.4 The stages in the development of the Education Acts in Botswana
3.5 The Education Policies of Botswana relevant to the study
3.6 The relevance of national education principles for this research
3.7 The principles guiding the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) syllabi
3.8 Strategies prescribed by the curriculum developers for the implementation of the Education Acts being investigated
3.9 The relevance of the National Development Plan (NDP) 9 to the current chapter
3.10 The Bodies that monitor and implement the Education Acts and Policies being Investigated
3.11 The implementation of the Education Acts and Policies being investigated in relation to up-grading the teachers’ qualifications
3.12 Introduction to the Inclusive Education Policy
3.13 Concluding remarks of the chapter
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Background to the research methods
4.3 The researcher’s stance with regard to the research paradigms
4.4 The mixed-methods data-collection instruments used to conduct the study
4.5 Data-analyses of the mixed-methods study
4.6 The structure of the questionnaire instrument
4.7 Comprehensive and panel sampling used to collect data from the interviewees
4.8 Controlling error that occur due to using interviews in the study, including the procedures adopted to analyse the qualitative data, and establishing its legitimacy
4.9 Evaluation as a data-collection method
4.10 The choice of Content Analysis (CA) to analyse the qualitative interview and (open-ended questionnaire) data, and its justification
4.11 Concluding remarks
5.1 Introduction
5.2 The presentation, interpretation and discussion of the mixed-methods research Findings
5.3 A discussion of the findings on the implementation of the Education Acts, the teaching strategies being used, and learner dropout
5.4 Interview results: The presentation, interpretation and discussion of the findings on the interviewees’ perceptions
5.5 The implications of the findings for the various units and departments of the Ministry
5.6 Concluding remarks
6.1 Introduction
6.2 The abridgement
6.3 Summary of the study, and the findings
6.4 Recommendations
6.5 Conclusions of the study
6.6 Suggestions for future research
6.7 The final concluding remarks on the study

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