Every child has a right to accessible quality education.
UNICEF in Botswana is committed to ensuring that all children – regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or circumstances – realize their right to a quality education. While Botswana has made significant strides in its development journey, challenges still exist in the delivery of quality education. Recognizing the importance of education for its citizens, the Government has articulated in its Vision 2036 that “education and skills are the basis for human resource development”. Furthermore, Vision 2036 aspires that “Botswana society will be knowledgeable with relevant quality education that is outcome based.” However, the education budget is largely focused on tertiary and less on pre-primary and primary education.
- Children under 5 account for 12 per cent of Botswana’s population.
- Only 43 per cent of children between 4-5 years access early learning opportunities.
- Approximately 1/3 of children are not gaining basic literacy skills after 4-5 years of primary education.
- Approximately 1/3 of children taking the Primary School examination do not pass.
- Approximately 2/3 of children taking the Junior Certificate examinations do not pass.
- Between 10 - 12 per cent of children that ought to be in school are not.
UNICEF supports the Government in three key areas: early childhood development, improved quality of education at primary level, and access to quality education, particularly Out of School Education for Children (OSEC).
Lack of access to quality early childhood education for many eligible children in marginalized and disadvantaged communities is widely considered to be a key factor contributing to the failure of children to achieve expected curriculum objectives in primary school. UNICEF has supported the Government of Botswana to develop policies, a costed implementation plan and an enabling environment for access to quality Early Childhood Development.
In addition to policy work, UNICEF has partnered with the Government and NGOs in three priority districts to design, develop and implement a cross sectoral community based early childhood development model. The model links service delivery and messaging using existing community structures such as chiefs, village development committees and community volunteers.
UNICEF’s work on quality education focuses on the design and development of remediation and enrichment interventions to enhance learning outcomes. Teaching at the Right Level (TARL) focuses on numeracy and lays the foundation for integrating innovative remediation techniques into teacher delivery approaches. Due to the positive results from the work in the three districts, Government is working on a scale up plan and integration of the model in all the primary schools. UNICEF will assist the Government in developing a national remediation and enrollment programme, which will contribute towards the goals of the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan.
In an effort to ensure that all children have access to basic education, UNICEF has supported the Government to develop the OSEC Policy, as well as learning and teaching material. Furthermore, UNICEF has contributed to development of the OSEC facilitators manual which will be instrumental in facilitator capacity development, OSEC centres therefore will be better equipped to deliver quality education to children who are out of school and who – for several reasons – are unlikely to integrate back into mainstream education.