Botswana aspires to be a high-income country with export-led economy by 2036. Chief Researcher at Botswana Public Service College, Dr Thatayamodimo Rammapudi made those remarks at the South East Region Out of School Education and Training Stakeholders Conference recently.
Dr Rammapudi said this aspiration talks to the need to invest in the use of Science and Technology, as these are central to achieving this vision. He said for the next five years, the National Development Plan (NDP 11) calls for partnerships to be built between various stakeholders and the government to create strategies and initiatives aimed at addressing issues of poor work ethics and inefficiencies in education and training.
He said these partnerships would help develop curricula from the lowest level of education to include the relevant skills aptitudes, adding that Botswana, together with the international world, is working to ensure the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2063. The theme of the conference was ‘Literacy in a Digital World; towards inclusive education in the 21st century.’
While these are admirable ambitions, I can’t help but think they may be a little lofty for Botswana. A host of comments on Facebook reveal that Batswana are a little sceptical too, posing a slew of burning questions including, and I quote;
“Do you have a monitoring and evaluation tool in place?”
“2036 is right round the corner …with some of the lowest wage rates at 4 Pula/hour, Botswana aspires to be a high – income country?? Let’s set realistic targets. High – income countries’ hourly rate hovers around 90 -120 Pula/hour for their minimum wage.”
“By now we should be exporting finished leather products and the best infrastructure in the continent to achieve the dream.”
“How did we fare with our Vision 2016 targets?”
“Expediting the private sector growth can afford us that leap into the high – income bracket. Make it easier and quicker to register businesses and start operations. Avail that land! Stop monopolies that stifle job creation and economic growth!”