Botswana: 'Decolonise, Africanise Education'

Gaborone — Africanisation and decolonisation have been described as key components of quality education and quality assessment in Southern Africa.

Speaking at the 13th Southern Africa Association for Educational Assessment (SAAEA) conference on May 20, Professor Peter Rule from Stellenbosch University said along with outcome-based education and digitisation, decolonisation was key to enhancing relevance for learners especially within the African context.

"This has especially become relevant in the past couple of years specifically in the Southern African region. Africanisation involves the recovery of African languages, their indigenous knowledge as well as their culture," he said.

The challenge, he said, would be doing so within an increasingly globalised world.

Prof. Rule said some of the key elements of quality education were relevance, equitability and inclusivity as well as adequately resourced and taught by qualified teachers while promoting life-long learning for all.

"Quality education contributes immensely to the economy, however, the economy also facilitates quality education," he said adding that in Botswana for instance, education could play a key role in the country's economic diversification efforts.

Assistant Minister of Basic Education Mr Thato Kwerepe commended participation of other African countries outside southern Africa as well as the other Commonwealth member states in the conference.

"This composition provides a rich environment for healthy dialogue on pertinent issues regarding assessment and their relationship to curriculum development," he said.

He emphasised that transforming the country into a knowledge-based society depended on the capacity of education systems to deliver learners with 21st-century skills, which were only attainable through effective assessment.

Assessment, he said, could also be used as a tool for accountability to accurately measure the quality of education systems.

"The assessment of competencies, however, remains a challenge to many countries and we hope to learn more from each other during this conference," he said.

Chairperson of Botswana Examinations Council (BEC), Dr Joseph Tsonope implored participants who comprised researchers and curriculum developers to pursue evidence-based and data-driven strategies and decision making.

Objectives of SAAEA are among others to facilitate dialogue and debates among member states and institutions concerning educational assessment matters and to provide a forum within which stakeholders could exchange ideas and good practices on matters relating to education assessments.

The theme of the conference is "quality assessment in an era of educational reforms."

Source : BOPA

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