Support Programme for Technical and Vocational Education and Training reforms in Botswana (2019-2023)
Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Gaborone, Botswana
16 July 2020
Remarks by H.E. Jan SADEK
Ambassador of the European Union
to the Republic of Botswana and SADC
It is a great pleasure to be here today to hand over, on behalf of the European Union, this check of 26.2 million Pula to the Government of Botswana, here represented by the Honorable Dr Thapelo Matsheka. The funds will support the government’s reforms in the education and training sector, or more precisely in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training - TVET.
The EU’s “Budget support programme for TVET reforms in Botswana” is worth in total 170 million Pula, and it has been in the making for several years. Now, the whole world is suffering from the effects of the Corona virus and COVID-19. We, the EU and its Member States, believe that the virus is a global threat that we can only fight together. The EU and Botswana are close partners, and we want to stand by the Government of Botswana during the crisis. That is why we have decided to expedite the disbursement foreseen within the budget support programme and waive the conditions attached to this disbursement.
The disbursement of BWP 26.2 million to the Treasury, should provide quick economic relief to the country and proactively support the Government’s COVID-19 response. It is part of the EU’s global COVID-19 response package delivered by EU and its Members States – #TeamEurope – here represented by France and Germany. In this way we want to underline our close partnership with Botswana and show solidarity between all Europeans and all Batswana.
Another aspect of the joint Team Europe effort, is that the “Support programme for TVET reforms in Botswana”, is complemented by technical assistance (TA) implemented in partnership with Germany’s GIZ. This technical assistance is co-funded by the Government of Germany. I would like to thank Ambassador Breth and GIZ Director Bagwitz for the good cooperation and their commitment.
In addition to this disbursement of budget support, the EU response package has already delivered BWP 1,5 million of Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers. And it foresees BWP 5.7 million in grants to support the victims of domestic violence and marginalized groups. Among the medium-term actions, the EU will provide grants for the development of the beef value chain in the North (BWP 6.6 million) and for the eco-tourism development (BWP 19 million).
Before I say a few words about the TVET budget support programme, I would like to, on behalf of myself and my Ambassador colleagues, and actually all Europeans living here in Botswana, extend our gratitude to the Government of Botswana and to congratulate the Government for its excellent management so far of the crisis. You have implemented a well-designed strategy that has kept us all away from the virus. This is impressive, and we wish you good luck in continuing keeping the country safe!
By disbursing 26.2 million BWP today we are not only supporting the COVID-19 immediate response. Through our TVET programme we are supporting skills development in order to increase employability of the young graduates, boost the country’s competitiveness and reduce poverty.
Addressing youth unemployment is more relevant than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic already has a major negative impact on labour markets and jobs bringing additional stress to youth employment. Fighting youth unemployment will require an integrated approach to create decent jobs and facilitate the entry in the labour market for the growing youth population.
There is need to work both on the demand and supply side of the labour market. On the demand side by stimulating decent job creation through strategic investment, improved business climate, development of local industries, and enhancing trade and regional cooperation. On the supply side to increase youth employability through investments in education and demand-driven Vocational Education and Training.
This approach is at the core of EU-Botswana cooperation and fully aligned with the broader EU-Africa partnership, that has grown stronger over the last few years.
The EU has been supporting Education and TVET in Botswana for at least 3 decades. However, the type and nature of EU support to the sector has changed considerably over time. While in earlier years, the funding of infrastructure development was a priority – Francistown Technical College is testimony to this – the EU’s current support focuses on the implementation of the reforms targeting quality improvement, teachers’ training, policy formulation and systems strengthening.
The TVET budget support programme, worth in total 170 million pula, is aimed at assisting Botswana in transitioning to a knowledge-based economy by addressing the challenges of skills mismatch and unemployment and by strengthening the relevance and quality of the TVET system.
The Programme has the following underlying assumptions and objectives:
TVET strategy, skills development, and reforms should support industrialization strategies and the development of economic clusters. It is important that the TVET system produces the right skills for the new jobs that are being created.
Therefore, the budget support programme has a fundamental focus in supporting the Ministry of Basic Education on the implementation of so-called Multiple Pathways at senior secondary level by the introduction of vocational and technical subjects in the academic curricula and exposing learners to the world of work.
I will take an example. We the EU Ambassadors made a joint trip to Maun at the end of last year. There we studied the potential for tourism and agriculture among other things. And we visited the Maun Secondary School, which will offer one of the first technical programmes under the Multiple Pathways of the new TVET strategy, one for tourism and hospitality. The idea is that students will do practice at lodges and other tourism facilities in the region in order to graduate with exactly the right skills that the hopefully expanding tourism sector needs. We met very enthusiastic teachers who were waiting to start the programme and we are looking forward to see that happening.
This means, secondly, that real-life work experiences, so-called Work Based Learning (WBL), should be mainstreamed in any technical training and vocational education programme, providing learners the opportunity to apply academic and technical skills in the workplace thus developing their employability. For this, partnerships between training providers and the private sector and industry are encouraged and should be strengthened.
Thirdly, the foundation of a robust TVET system lies in its governance. On the one hand, the model of governance has to clearly define responsibilities for the overall coordination and assessment of the TVET policy implementation, to ensure quality. On the other hand, regular public-private dialogue should be at the core of the governance model, in order to make TVET employment relevant.
And lastly, we need to understand better the position of women in TVET and employment in Botswana. Women enrol in TVET but many seem not to graduate. What exactly are the challenges preventing women to fully participate and benefit from the opportunities? Within the Programme, we will analyse the obstacles preventing women to participate in learning at the workplace and assess the needs companies have in order to provide workplace experiences, especially to women.
Finally, to succeed in this endeavour it is paramount to promote TVET as an equivalent alternative to academic education. In this regard it's important to mention the on-going "Make TVET Cool" campaign implemented by Young Africa Botswana to counter the prejudices against TVET and bring a positive image. We do acknowledge the partnerships that are being forged between Young Africa Botswana and the Education Ministries to further advance with the communication campaign.
Thank you for your attention!
Ke a leboga. Pula!