The Voice reporter caught up with the ever enthusiastic educationist.
Q. Good afternoon Mr. Majwabe how are you and can you briefly introduce who you are:
I am blessed my brother, I am Shadreck Zola Majwabe, born and breed in Masunga, but currently a resident of Tatisiding.I am married to Thateng Majwabe (Nee Motsisi) and we have been blessed with three intelligent children.
Q. You have been described as a good presenter, what are your professional and academic credentials.
I am by profession an educationist, I trained as a teacher and taught in many secondary schools and subsequently graduated through the promotion ladder to my current post of Coordinator ETSSP.
Academically I have a Bachelor Degree in Education and a master`s degree in Human Resource Management as well as a number of professional certificates but I am also an author and an accredited curriculum validator.
Q. What are your hobbies?
Watching football (Tafic football club wherever it is), farming, Travelling, Reading and writing and then going to Bible life Ministry and lastly I enjoy the company of my wife especially when we are arguing over meals and intellectual discourse.
Q. Talking about ETSSP, what really is it?
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has set its priorities for 2013-2014.
The highest priority has been accorded to the development of a comprehensive Education and Training Strategic Sector Plan which is aligned to NDP10 and the emerging educational sector priorities.
ETSSP is designed to comprehensively and fundamental transform education from Pre-Primary to Tertiary level, so that our education should be aligned and responsive to the contemporary and future socioeconomic needs.
We are developing a global responsive education system with a global competitive edge.
Q. What has informed this strategy?
This Strategy is informed by a number of public policies which are geared towards driving the national development agenda with special reference to human resource development.
Key among these policies are the;
Revised National Policy on Education; Vision 2016, Human Resource Development Strategy and the Botswana Excellence strategy.
Q. But the results have been going down over the years is this not the main reason why you came up with this strategy?
You are correct but not accurate, the Ministry of Education as per its` mandate has always driven its mandate to develop the human resource as envisaged in the successive development plans and various public policies as informed by the same.
However, it should also be noted that over the years performance has generally gone down in our schools despite a lot of investment in our education hence the need to strategically retrospect and come up with a solid strategy which can not only improve performance but which can also transform our education to be relevant and global competitive.
Therefore ETSSP is not solely about results but the overall improvement in education delivery.
ETSSP is a 5 year strategy from 2014 -2019 and possibly beyond, it`s development is divided in to 4 phases and currently we are in the afternoon of the third phase and by September 2014 we should have completed the first draft of the plan.
And I must emphasize that like any long time good strategy it`s results are not going to be realized soon but probably after a couple of years, it is not a quick fix but a long time investment.
Q. Mr, Majwabe we are talking of results, you are avoiding that word and instead you are talking of performance?
Yes a nutritionist does not talk of a nice meal but a balanced meal, Pedagogically, Results are but a partial reflection of learner achievement, and they are a partial measure of prudent educational management and may not necessarily reflect the various latent gifts undiscovered in our learners yet they remain important.
But performance reflects learner achievement in totality and it goes beyond the A, B AND Cs passes we celebrate so much.
Education performance also embraces key areas like financial stewardship, Information management and responsive HRM for quality service delivery.
Q. Yes this sound likes an exciting initiative but why are you doing it now, where have you been?
Over the years Botswana has made tremendous strides in the provision of education and a lot has been achieved, However different times at different situations calls for different interventions.
We have come up with a variety of initiatives to answer the same call such as decentralization, enhanced teacher training, transformation of brigades, expansion of schools, BUIST, levels of operations, etc but our contemporary situational analysis calls for an encompassing strategic approach akin to what more successful countries have developed so that our education reflects value in investment by empowering both the learner and the economy.
Botswana should invest and export both education as a service and skilled manpower as a service commodity.
Q. Mention a few programmes which you are developing in this strategy:
Key among our programmes are: The introduction of quality pre-primary education, enhancing of Science and Maths learning, e-learning, Rebranding of vocational education to be a carrier of choice, school management leadership development, improved education standards, professional teacher development, more responsive HRM, and enhanced financial stewardship to mention a few.
Q. One of your constraints has been producing unemployable graduates your comment?
ETSSP aims to align what is taught in our schools and training institutions to the contemporary industry and economic needs of Botswana and the international market.
Currently we have people without jobs and paradoxically jobs without people thanks to the mismatch between our curriculum and the job market.
We need a competence based curriculum, a curriculum which cherishes technical and practical skills for a knowledge based society.
We need people who can do more with their hands than those like me who talks and then celebrate being classified as a good speaker hahaha!
Q. Have you implemented anything so far?
Yes we have short, medium and long term implementation plans and currently under the short term we have started with the introduction of 2Year pre-primary education in 120 primary schools.
We have also started the Turn around stratrgy which is capacitating the school management of.
Q. Who are your strategic partner’s?
I wanted to say the media first, Hahaha! so that I may coerce you for a buy in, The European Union are providing us with some funds as well as the technical experts.
But we have overwhelming support from the teachers, student, private sector, media, and public at large.
Q. History has shown that over the years government has become good at coming up with initiatives but later fail to implement. Whats your take?
That’s probably a fair assessment because we are to be judged by our customers, and you are one of them, but that can only motivate us in ETSSP not to validate your assessment. ETSSP has all the ingredients of a success (look at me do I look like a failure?)
Hahaha! We have the technical, financial, stakeholder buy in, the plan, the vision, zeal and there is overwhelming political wheel and media support that’s why you invited me.
I am also working with a committed team supported by Minister Hon Venson Moitoi, Permanent secretary for Education Refoms: Mme Nkhwa Taboka.
So there is no reason on earth why it should fail, besides current education demands and tastes calls for a transformation in education anywhere. (dipaka le dikgwetho di fetogele).
Intertwined to the development of this strategy are monitoring and evaluation regimes as well as quality assurance and risk management mechanism to ensure it success.
Q. Mr. Majwabe your Ministry is always in the microscope for the wrong reason, what’s your take on this and what hope will ETSSP bring?
This is the more reason why we need a holistic strategy which can transform public service delivery in its entirety and in the process delivering quality education more professionally.
Conversely, the ministry of education is host to about 37000 employees this translate to roughly a third of the entire public force of Botswana, it is a host to almost all children and all parents and has direct customers in any settlement and the challenges may be proportionally to this magnitude hence the need to manage the system with a strategy of ETSSP`s vision.
Q. Talking of political wheel, what is the difference in role between what you are doing as the coordinator and what Hon Venson Moitoi is doing as a Minister?
Hon. Venson Moitoi is a full Minister responsible for the management of ETSSP, Itself a mammoth task, She is the political accountable officer for the project and other transformational projects in the ministry.
I am a coordinator; a foot solder an administrator responsible for the operational efficiency of the project.
So there is no confusion of roles, just as there is no confusion of roles between the Hospital Superintendent at marina hospital and the minister of Health.
Q. Talking about ETSSP, you position yourself like a sales representative of a new product, you are so enthusiastic.
Honestly, beside the fact that I am the coordinator and an educationist, I strongly feel that the future of our human capital development lies with ETSSP.
You see the ultimate goal of ETSSP is to transform Botswana from a resource based to a skill based economy leveraging on an aligned competitive education.
Q. One of the major challenges in government has been lack of continuity by officers who drive change due to transfers, promotions etc.
You are refereeing to deficiency in intellectual memory due to HRM mobility.
People come and go but institutions remain, what is key is to build institutional memory and do the best when you are still there because we do not only oar it to our nation but above all to God.
Q. What’s your last word sir?
Let me take this opportunity to thank your paper on behalf of the minister for the support you are giving to education transformation and also humbly request the nation to support the ministry of education in this critical assignment.
We invite and welcome any contributions towards this project.
Let me end by assuring and reassuring the nation that We are highly dedicated and committed to this project for the public good. Thank you.