Updated: Nov 1
In honour of Independence Day in Botswana, Pelinah Gorata Pinaemang and Phatsimo Mosimangape, Associate Fellows of the Royal Commonwalth Society, give their views of educational opportunities and improving young people’s development in their home country.
Pelinah Gorata Pinaemang
In Botswana, as in many nation-states, there exists a tenacious achievement gap and opportunity gap among learners. These gaps are an indication of disparities in academic performance and educational opportunities that disproportionately affect certain groups based on different factors. Addressing these gaps requires a multifaceted approach, which includes the implementation of effective academic revision strategies and the promotion of personal development for students
Academic revision plays a fundamental role in enhancing students' education familiarities and closing the achievement gap. By providing students with structured support, resources, and guidance, academic revision empowers them to consolidate their understanding of the subject matter and improve their performance. Research has shown that targeted revision strategies, such as providing timely feedback, utilizing active learning techniques, and implementing personalized study schedules, can significantly boost academic achievement for students across diverse backgrounds.
To address the achievement gap in Botswana, it is essential to offer academic revision programs that target students from disadvantaged communities and rural areas. These programs should provide opportunities for students to access additional learning resources, receive one-on-one guidance from mentors or tutors, and engage in peer collaborative revision sessions. By tailoring revision initiatives to meet the specific needs of students facing educational disadvantages, educational institutions can work towards narrowing the achievement gap.
In addition to academic revision, personal development programs offer valuable tools for addressing the opportunity gap in Botswana. Personal development initiatives focus on equipping students with essential life skills, such as critical thinking, effective communication, time management, and goal setting. These skills are not only vital for academic success but also for overall personal growth and future employability.
By incorporating personal development, schools foster a culture of self-improvement and empower students to pursue their aspirations. Furthermore, personal development programs can enhance students' confidence, resilience, and self-esteem, which are crucial factors in bridging the opportunity gap. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds often lack access to extracurricular activities and opportunities for personal growth. By including personal development programs within the educational system, these students can gain access to diverse experiences that provide them with a level playing field.
It was this in mind that I founded a secondary school project that trains students about leadership personal development, and academic excellence. It is a project birthed in 2018 while returning from the United States of America State Department Exchange Program - Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement. So far the project was launched in Kgalagadi Region at Matsha College. Southern Region at Mookami Junior Secondary School in Kanye, Molongwa Junior Secondary School in Khakhea, Maiteko Junior Secondary School in Mabutsane, and at Goodhope Senior School in Goodhope. The program has impacted the lives of more than five thousand students in Botswana. The following are the core objectives of the project:
Enhancing Leadership Skills: The training program aims to develop strong leadership skills among students in Botswana. It focuses on imparting knowledge and skills necessary to become effective leaders, including decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork.
Fostering Personal Growth: The program seeks to promote personal growth and self-awareness among students. Through workshops and interactive sessions, students explore their strengths, weaknesses, values, and aspirations, enabling them to develop a better understanding of themselves and their potential.
Enhancing Academic Performance: The training program aims to improve academic excellence among students. It provides them with study skills, time management techniques, and effective learning strategies. Moreover, it will focus on improving critical thinking, creativity, and analytical abilities to help students excel academically.
Instilling Resilience and Perseverance: The training program helps the students to develop resilience and perseverance among students, enabling them to handle challenges, setbacks, and failures effectively. Students learn strategies to bounce back from obstacles, maintain a positive mind-set, and continue working towards their goals.
As a young well-versed active citizen I acknowledge the visionary state of Botswana that is based on VISION 2036 –PILLAR 1; SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. This pillar embraces a knowledge-based economy. I wish to start an education dialogue with different stakeholders to engage continuously on issues that affect Batswana as global citizens.
I'm Phatsimo Mosimanegape, a passionate African woman with a fiery determination to uplift my beloved continent. It all started back in my Senior Secondary School years when I got involved in a Development Studies Project in the Old Naledi Community. We were a dream team, working tirelessly to support a Rehabilitation Centre for Street Children. That experience ignited a fire within me, and I knew I had to play a vital role in improving the lives of those around me.
Fast forward to my university days in 2006, when I joined Youth for Life-YOLI. This brilliant organization focused on promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and fighting against the stigma that surrounds the topic. As an Economics student, I also developed a keen interest in global issues and how young Africans can get involved in Economic Development and Governance. That's when I became a member of the incredible Pan-African organization, Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa- YALDA. Let me tell you, being part of YALDA has been instrumental in my personal growth and self-discovery. I've led some great projects, mentored my awesome peers, and collaborated with incredible individuals from different regions. Sure, I may have stepped down as Country Director for Botswana in 2021, but I'm still serving as an advisor. I guess I am always willing to pour from my cup which really is fulfilling to me.
I've studied Economics and Public Administration and I have used the skills and knowledge garnered over the years to make an impact. This has of course gained me some recognition as I was honoured to be an Associate Fellow for the Royal Commonwealth Society since 2016, and a 2021 Mandela Washington Fellow. Being part of the Commonwealth is a big deal for me. I believe in the power of countries coming together to tackle common challenges and work towards shared goals. The Commonwealth is like a treasure trove of collaboration, where we can exchange ideas, promote democracy and human rights, and showcase our best practices. Botswana, my homeland, has benefited massively from this partnership. The Commonwealth has been a game-changer, supporting us in education, health, and economic development, bringing progress and prosperity to our doorstep.
My leadership journey has empowered countless young individuals who've gone on to do great in their own professions. In addition to YALDA, I'm actively involved in various national and global platforms. Right now, I'm part of the National Steering Committee for Sustainable Development Goals and the Technical Taskforce for the same. Recently the Office of the President appointed me to the Generations Unlimited Steering Committee.
I've also taken it upon myself to initiate my own community service projects. For instance, I started the Feel Fresh Campaign. I collected and donated hygiene packages to those less fortunate. Because let's be honest, feeling fresh is a right, not a privilege.
But my dedication doesn't stop at my immediate surroundings. No, I have worked with African Monitor, a South African-based organization, to ensure Botswana has a substantial say in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Together, we've embarked on the Voice Africa's Future Project. I've trained and collaborated with Youth Champions to engage different communities in co-creation initiatives towards Sustainable Development. We're in this together, changing the game one step at a time!
In the grand scheme of things, my vision goes beyond personal achievements. I dream of seeing Botswana regain its status as a beacon of democracy and a self-sustained economy. Africa has so many incredible resources, and it is high time we use them to secure a brighter future for the next generation. I'm just a humble part of a bigger movement, but together, we can tackle challenges head-on and achieve amazing things.
There you have it, I'm Phatsimo Mosimanegape, and I'm on a mission to uplift Botswana, Africa, the Commonwealth, and its people. Every single person out there has their own unique spark that can ignite change. Whether it's our wild ideas, infectious enthusiasm, or even just the power of our kindness, we each have something to bring to the table. So, let's embrace our inner fire-starters and let the world be lit up by our awesomeness! We can go on and enjoy Botswana's 57 years of Independence Day together but let's not forget to roll up our sleeves and get to work, shall we?
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.