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6 Post-independence Educational Planning and Classroom Practice Introduction Chapter Five posited that the objective conditions of the socio-cultural environment permit the production and reproduction of human practices. This means that in every context where reproduction is possible, there must be certain stable elements which allow both production and reproduction of stable practices to take place. If there were no such elements, reproduction would be extremely difficult. The same logic pertains to pedagogical styles as human practices. We can argue that the production and reproduction of teaching methods that are associated with the banking-education pedagogical paradigm in public schools in Botswana and Africa in general is sustained by certain stable elements in the socio-cultural ambiance. In the words of Bartlett (1991:24): Persistent actions require a set of stabilised elements or set of conditions which allow the actions themselves to be reproduced. The elements or conditions are defined as social structure… What then are the stabilized elements or conditions that allow the persistence of teacher-centred methods in the African context? They include the dominant objectivist view of knowledge and the structures of domination and subordination. I would like to add to these the utilitarian view of schooling/ education engendered by manpower planning, the education system’s (centralized or decentralized) organizational structure and, lastly, curricula arrangements.The latter is discussed in detail in Chapter Eight. In this chapter, Teaching and Learning in Context: Why Pedagogical Reforms Fail in Sub-Saharan Africa 108 I concentrate on the first two. These stabilized elements, being aspects of the socio-cultural context, inform teachers’ and students’ classroom practices. Because they are part of the immunological condition of the environment, they have implications for pedagogical change. Overlooking their potential as barriers to pedagogical innovation in favour of a technicist stance may lead to innovation rejection. Human Resource Planning in the Post-1966 era Britain’s indifferent attitude towards native education was to have a profound effect on Botswana. At independence in 1966, Botswana found itself with a poorly developed educational infrastructure with which to support the country’s expanding administrative services. The government’s priority, therefore, became the expansion of educational provision in order to meet the country’s human resource development needs. Vanqa (1989:28) clearly captures this dire situation: To read the story of education and its development in Botswana after 1966 is to read the story of manpower (sic) needs for an emerging country. When Botswana gained her independence from Britain, it became crucial for the country to have a viable programme to produce manpower (sic) to cater for the growing social, economic and administrative services. This human resource development-oriented educational planning of postindependence Botswana had pedagogical consequences. The mode of planning may have assisted in perpetuating the pedagogical style which had a foundation laid by traditional and missionary education. The mode of planning led to the development of a utilitarian perception of education – the view that education/schooling is an important vehicle for social mobility. This view of education promotes the liberal myth that everyone has the chance to climb the social ladder through education, that is, by passing examinations. It is not an overstatement to say that in Botswana and indeed sub-Saharan Africa as a whole there is no conception of education other than the utilitarian one. It pervades most aspects of schooling. It is often reflected in school logos and mottos, which are imprinted on the badges of students’ school uniforms as a constant reminder that through education they will ultimately be able to lead better lives. For example, take this motto from one of the schools studied: ‘Thuto ke thobo ya Bokamoso’, translated as ‘Education is a harvest for the future’. This ‘harvest’ is none other than an economic one. The utilitarian view is shared by teachers, students and parents. Davies (1988:300), in an ethnographic study of two senior secondary schools in Botswana, reported 109 this ‘extraordinary congruence in the aims of teachers and students’. Whether this utilitarian view of education/schooling is realistic or misplaced is not the concern here. Instead, the concern is the effect of this conception of education on teachers’ and students’ understanding of teaching and learning. Botswana’seconomicgrowthrateincreasedsignificantlyafterindependence in 1966, from 7 percent per year at independence to 15 percent per year at the end of the 1960s (Colclough and McCarthy 1980:57). Between 1966 and 1974, two important mines – Orapa (diamonds) and Selibe-Phikwe (copper/ nickel) – were opened, increasing both public and private sector employment. A...


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