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Automatic progression: a malfunction

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For years Boitshepo Koi* shared her love for teaching with all the students at Naledi Secondary School. The Development Studies teacher who chooses to remain anonymous told Edu Mail that Naledi is a school which for a long time was known to be a school of stars like its name states.

“It is where every parent wished their child would attend and where every teacher yearned to work at.” She too admits that she loved to be associated with the fact that it was one of the best local schools, teaching the best students.“We used to call them the ‘crème’ of the country because all the best students came here and we as teachers were privileged to be a part of the process as they continued their senior secondary school chapter,” she says.

With a cheerless face and gloomy spirit the renowned teacher who thought her passion would grow with time, finds herself wondering what the future holds for her as even the best schools like Naledi face the wrath of drastic decline of results. She speaks very little of the recently released 2015 BGCSE results which she says continue to deteriorate year in and out. In fact, Koi indicates that this is disheartening for teachers as they are directly involved with the students on a daily basis. “It is obviously frustrating for us,” she maintains.

Koi is of the view that it has become embarrassing to interact with private school teachers or even seek opportunities there as they too wonder how public school results continue to worsen each year.“One private school teacher once asked me why our results deteriorate when they can actually achieve hundred percent pass rate each year. I did not know what to say,” she says in a hollow distressed voice.

Having met her briefly Koi comes across as a dedicated, hardworking and patient teacher. In her reflection however, she blames the introduction of automatic progression. “Ever since that was introduced things were never the same again. Our lives changed completely.”Automatic progression ensures universal access to education policy that allows learners to pass through the 10 years of education offered under the universal policy. In other words, each learner is guaranteed 10 years of education regardless of performance at critical levels such as Standard Seven and Form Three.

“We are experiencing poor examination results and without the slightest sign that they will improve in the near future,” she shares consumed by much worry.
Koi believes that with this system in place, students do not see any need to work hard or even learn at all because it is certain that whether they fail or pass they will go onto the next level. “While we have to deal with undisciplined and disruptive students who hate school, do drugs, we also have to deal with those who wish to learn but are discouraged by the system,” she adds.

She highlights that as a result of being failed by the system, students then find it pointless to even try to perform better and resort to all kind of social ills and disruptive behaviour. “Students are simply not motivated to take school seriously!” Koi remains clueless as to how systems are put in place when they (teachers) are barely consulted on matters that concern students. In fact she is troubled by the fact that even when systems like automatic progression are put in place, teachers are not prepared for it.

“Imagine a class full of D graded students, some of who can barely construct an English sentence.” She reveals that as teachers teaching such a class, the focus then is drawn back to teaching basics which they could have been taught at primary and junior secondary schools. “It gets worse as even in tests and examination, expressing themselves in English for example, is a challenge.”

She is reminded of another one of her colleagues who shared similar sentiments about teaching at Naledi who left to pursue his PhD with the idea that he would come back and continue contribute in the same school.  “He did not even last a year because when he came back things had changed,” she shares.
The hard hit students, she says are those with ‘special needs,’ as they are the most neglected by the system.

“First of all, some teacher have no idea how to educate a child with special needs,” she admits. Second of all, with that in mind they are simply thrown at us even worse in similar classes as other children when they should be given special attention. Another predicament is the student-teacher ration that can stand up to  one teacher to 45 students, and up to seven classes of varied needs. “How can the poor kids pass?” she questions.None the less, Koi makes it known that in the midst of it all are teachers whose morale is on an old time low, as they increasingly get de-motivated by the working and living conditions.

Instead of being supported , she claims teachers are subjected to all sorts of harsh treatment ranging from unpaid overtimes, discriminatory levels of operation, forced to stay at schools when schools are closed, made essential services so as to restrict them from full union rights, among others. Koi recommends that in-service workshops should be reintroduced and properly managed. The workshops used to assist both new and experienced teachers to appreciate the teaching content and methodologies and even refresh the old horses with the latest strategies in education. On top of that, proper and vigorous consultation between teachers and the employer should be made priority.

She also believes that the re-introduction of the repeat system would be helpful as a motivator for students and also ensure the delivery of quality over quantity. Special needs children should be treated and provided for as such. “In fact, there are a host of challenges in education which needs appropriate interventions that if left unattended our education will continue to rot while our children disregard the importance of quality education,” she says.

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Micasa, Han C light up Mascom Live Sessions

Tshepo Kehemile

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In what can be described as two sets of ‘electrifying’ performances, South Africa-based house music group Micasa and the local talented lad Hanceford Magapatona popularly known as Han-C put up massive performances that kept revellers on their on their feet at Botswana Craft this past Friday.

Initially, this year’s Mascom Live Sessions entailed Micasa who are actually among the favourites in the local music circles, the local musician who have been strides off late Han-C and local Deejay (DJ) Robin Chivazve affectionately known as Robbie Rob to come and entertain the crowd that graced the occasions.

Han-C kick-started the show with a couple of songs from his previous album such as Sedi laka, Changes just to mention a few and the crowd relished the epic enactments just before the introduction Micasa. The local artiste concluded by singing the adored song dubbed Tladi mothwana (Rejection) and it was just marvellous.

As the night went on, Micasa’s turn to get on stage to astound the crowd arrived, and they did not disappoint as well. The group performed a variety of songs from their previous album that had the crowd singing along with the lead vocalist J’Something who was incredible on the night, noted that the link with the audience was just unbelievable. “Impressed with the crowd, loves Botswana and always enjoys performing in Botswana. Batswana like music and this is one of the best performances we have ever had here,” he said.

DJ Robbie Rob concluded the show with impressive ‘house music mix’ on the decks. The revellers danced away and seemed disappointed when the show came to an end.

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Moonga.K drops debut album

Irene Shone

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Moonga Kapambwe who goes by the stage name Moonga.K has finally released his first album, which was launched in style this past Sunday at Gaborone Club.

The former My African Dream 2009 winner has indeed come back with a bang with that mature voice and pleasant music to the ear. He still carries that energy that leaves a lot eating from the palms of their own hands. His new album, ‘Wild Solace’ which is an Alternative Soul genre astonished the audience as they all appreciated his talent.

The endowed artiste says that he has dubbed his genre Alternative Soul because of the variety of genres that it encompasses. “The album has blended different genres of music including; Afro blues, Jazz, rock, soul, RnB and a bit of Gospel,” he said.

His album, Wild Solace is a motivational album that is aimed at enlightening people that even if one goes through pain at some point in life, they would always overcome it and regain peace once again. The courageous young artiste says that the Judge’s Choice Award that he got from My African Dream in 2009 would always humble him, as it has definitely opened doors for him in his music career through exposure. He explained that he now lives by the slogan ‘Keeping the dream alive’.

This, he explains that he has now come to conquer because he is already hosting his own concerts and events, which is something that he has always wanted. He also prides himself in the fact that he has written all his songs. “I am very proud of this album, and to be precise, the people I have worked with. The album simply describes the state of mind I was at as I wrote all the songs,” he said.

The live performance went explicitly well with the audience cheering and singing along to songs from the album. Some of Moonga.K’s title songs from the 10-track album include; Let go, Walking Emoji, Fink’s wave and Incandescent. His mother, Moono Kapambwe expressed gratitude towards the people of Botswana, saying that they have always been supportive to his son and he is humbled by the fact that Moonga.K has become such a responsible young man who is not distracted and takes his passion seriously.

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