02 March, 2004

Opposition criticises the introduction of cost sharing in education

At the inauguration congress of the The New Democratic Front (NDF) in Lobatse, the party heavily criticised the government for introducing cost sharing in education. As NDF leader Dick Bayford put it, education must be free and compulsory since the majority of the population were incapacitated by poverty and could not afford school fees. Moreover, he said that education should not only be viewed as an expense but an investment from which the country would benefit as part of its human resource development endeavours. According to Bayford, the introduction of school fees would only aggravate the current social and economic inequalities prevalent in the country. He also lamented the quality of education in the country, which he said has not improved over the years and has resulted in high levels of school dropouts.

The implementation of the 1994 Revised National Policy on Education has been inconsistent and scanty and government has also failed to implement some of the critical components of the policy such as computerisation at secondary schools, he charged. Bayford also criticised government for failing to address national problems such as unemployment, poverty, brain- drain, land and accommodation crisis. The result, he said, "is that the few privileged sections of our society further progress into opulence while the majority plunges into poverty". (The Daily News, Gabarone)

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