Students enrolment has been declining over the years, Minister of Education and Skills Development has said.
Addressing a kgotla meeting at Chadibe in Tonota North constituency on Friday, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi stated that over the years the number of students sitting for junior certificate examinations decreased from about 26 000 to almost 24 000.
This, she said, was an indication that enrolment for students was not increasing as anticipated hence the ministry did not see the need to build new schools but should instead maintain existing structures.
The minister further noted that they were experiencing the same situations at brigades and vocational training centres. For example, she said, Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education should be having about 1 500 students but only 600 students had been enrolled, while brigades had a capacity of 18 000 but only 8 000 spaces had been filled.
Therefore, Minister Venson-Moitoi said instead of constructing new facilities, they would upgrade the existing ones. She also stated that there had been suggestions from the public in areas where there were no senior secondary schools that junior schools be unified to accommodate students from form three to form five.
However, she said because enrolment at the newly built senior schools in Nata and Mmadinare was still low, the ministry had decided to have two unified schools in Kgalagadi District capital, Tsabong and at Takatokwane in Kweneng District. These two schools would relieve Matsha in Kang.
This, she said was because these two areas were worse off compared to other areas since roads were in bad conditions and long distances travelled to schools, hence parents were not involved in their children’s education due to such circumstances.
Meanwhile, a resident, Mr Otsile Mokobela suggested that the ministry should liaise with statistics office to get proper information on issues leading to the declining of enrolment in schools.
He noted that in that way, it would be helpful to the ministry to plan for the future, either to build new schools or develop the existing ones.
Mr Mokobela also proposed that the minister should consider merging subjects such as Moral with Guidance and Counselling and instead of using teachers in those subjects, qualified social workers be employed to teach students and do the counselling.
Another concerned parent, Mr Boemo Molosiwa questioned why Back to School students had to go through an interviewing process and five best students were admitted at brigades. He said they had been given impression that their children would be admitted directly into the programme.
In response, Minister Venson- Moitoi said that there were remedial teachers performing social work duties although that was not enough to cover all the schools.
She said the ministry was considering employing more of them because of the challenges experienced at school with students misbehaving and being influenced by social ills in society.
Regarding the Back to School programme, she said not all students would be admitted at once, but said some would be placed on the waiting lists. ENDS