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Botswana urged to emulate China in education

(Xinhua)

08:07, August 09, 2012

FRANCISTOWN, Botswana, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Botswana government was urged on Wednesday to emulate China in terms of education.

Delivering a speech during the official opening of the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) conference in Francistown, Botswana's second largest city located in northeastern part of the country, BOSETU president Shandukani Hlabano said countries with leading economies are those that invest in education.

"Countries with leading economies are those that invest in education. Economists project that in 2050, the economy of China would be 20 percent larger than that of the United States of America," he said.

He said China's growth in economy is attributed to the huge investment that China is making in education.

"Enrolment in schools and colleges is on the rise due to significant state investment in education," said Hlabano.

"In fact there will be a paradigm shift in the superpower dynamics with China being the leading economy of the world in 2050 which is only about 38 years from now," he added.

Hlabano said education is the single most powerful tool that determines the course of action of any action. However, performance of Botswana's learners in the final examination is declining at the alarming rate.

According to him, the decline in terminal examination results is proportional to the decline in the morale of teachers due to no pay rise for the past four years. The 2011 Botswana General Certificate in Secondary Education (BGCSE) results showed a decline in the pass rate.

According to the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC), all syllabi show a decline in performance except English Language, Science Single Award, Music, Development Studies and Social Studies.

The number of grades that were C or better account for 30.90 percent of the grades issued to all candidates for all syllabi in 2011, compared to 32.76 percent in the 2010 examinations, resulting in a drop of 1.86 percentage point.

The grades that were A, or better accounted for 3.1 percent of the grades issued to all candidates for all syllabi in 2011, compared to 3.34 percent in 2010, resulting in a drop of 0.24 percentage point.

According to official statistics, by 2009, there are 803 primary schools in the country, of them 7.6 percent are privately owned schools. Net Enrolment Ratios at the age between 6-12 in primary schools stood at 85.8 percent in 2009, compared to 90 percent in 2003.

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