One of the aims of Education of Botswana, which resulted from the report of the National Commission on Education 1977, was to improve primary education as the foundation of other levels of education.  As one of the strategies to meet this goal, the Department of Primary Education (DPE) was established in 1981.  The establishment of the Department was one of the collaborative efforts between the government of Botswana and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve primary education.  The USAID project, which was responsible for this goal, was called the Primary Education Improvement Project (PEIP).  The project ran from 1981 to 1991.
The Department ran two in-service programs: a one year Diploma and a four-year Bachelor of Education degree in Primary Education.  The first intake for both programs was in August 1982. The first Diploma group graduated in October 1983 while the last graduated in October 2000.  About 231 students graduated from the Diploma program. The first BEd group graduated in October 1985.  Till October 2017, more than 2000 students have graduated from BEd (Primary) programme.
The Department of Primary Education reviewed its Diploma and Degree programs in April 1995 with an eight member Ad-hoc Committee. The Committee had representation from the DPE, Colleges of Education, Teacher Training and Development and Teaching Service Management in the Ministry of Education. The review was necessitated by the following factors:
  1. During NDP 7 the Ministry of Education decided that Primary Teacher Training Colleges upgrade the Certificate program they had been offering to a Diploma. This meant that both DPE and Colleges were to prepare Diploma graduates for primary schools, a role the DPE had been monopolising.
  2. The Revised National Policy on Education of 1994 had future implications for both the Diploma and Degree programs. For instance, DPE BEd graduates could no longer be deployed to Colleges, not only because the Colleges were fully staffed but also because the minimum requirements for a College Lecturer were changed to a Master's degree. This meant that while DPE has been training teacher trainers, its main focus should now be to train classroom teachers and educational managers in the primary education sector.
  3. The third factor is that the Ministry of Education presented a specific request to the Department to address its special needs in the primary education sector. The request reads as follows:
    • The programs should change their orientation to include specializations in the identified areas of need, namely: Remedial Teaching, Special Education, Infant Education Methods, Guidance and Counselling, Teacher Advising and Practical Subjects.
    • The programs should establish priorities to strengthen instruction in the areas of Mathematics, Science and English.
    • The Current system of admission into the programmes through the Mature Age Entry Scheme to be reviewed to accommodate the academic requirements for Diploma level training in Primary Teacher Training institutions which is at least a minimum of 3 O’ Level subjects (MOE letter dated 21 June, 1994).

Revision of B. Ed Primary Programme

The current programme was revised during the academic year 1999/2000 to produce graduates who could contribute, more meaningfully, in the development of primary education as a foundation of education. The review of the program then was a response to the professional and personal needs of the students of primary education.  The revision was done to:
  1. Make the program more relevant to the world of practice rather than being too abstract.
  2. Accommodate changes taking place in the schools and primary education field in general.
  3. Update in-service teachers with modern teaching skills so that they can fit in the demands of vision 2016.
As the University of Botswana moved into semesterisation or development of an academic structure characterised by semester courses, the department of Primary Education had yet another opportunity to review its programme to be in accordance with the new university Mission/ Vision/Values statement which envisages the University to "be a leading academic centre of excellence in Africa and the world".

Background of BEd Educational Management Program

The DPE is one of the Faculty of Education departments with emphasis on providing in-service to the primary school teachers and administrators. Its inception was a result of one of the recommendations of the 1977 Commission of Education, which was to improve primary education as the foundation of other levels of education.
The department has been providing human resources for the Primary Teachers Training Colleges as well as the education office cadre. This aim has been fully fulfilled by the department. With the upgrading of the Primary Teachers Training Colleges into Colleges of Education offering a diploma in Primary Education, the direct deployment of the BEd graduate to the colleges had to be affected.  Currently, the BEd graduates are deployed to the primary schools and go to colleges as Staff Development Fellows.
The posting of BEd Primary holders to primary schools is still a commendable move because the primary schools need a calibre of teachers, which is able to fully understand the child and therefore apply appropriate strategies of both teaching and general handling.
During the approval process of the BEd Educational Management program, it was advised that the program needs to be developed such that it accommodates other areas of education besides primary.  In other words, instead of confining the program to the in-service of primary school managers, it be opened up to accommodate other education sectors such as secondary school managers, police, BDF & Prison’s institution managers, and vocational institutions etc., as long as they meet the entrance requirements..
The program was therefore so adjusted and since its inception in August 2002, the programme has attracted clients from various education sectors such as secondary and primary departments, police, vocational colleges, and general educational administrators from various sectors. Candidates for the program are both from within and outside the country. More than 250 students have already graduated by October 2017.
The DPE feels highly indebted to the community and the Botswana education system in particular. To this effect, by developing the BEd Educational Management Program in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE&SD), DPE is responding to an important need at school and for other education institutions for improving the educational management.

Background of BEd Early Childhood Development and Education Program

The importance of Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) professional development and pedagogical renewal was recognised and adequately stressed in policy documents of Botswana. In 2001, the Early Childhood Care and Education Policy (ECCE) was released which intended to develop and establish ECDE professionals, to provide care and education services. But the implementation of this policy remained unfulfilled.
Recently the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP 2015-2020) emphasised ECDE as one of its education strategic goals for the Post-2015 Education Agenda and stressed a continuum from ECCE to Higher Education. It proposed that strategies for securing access to ECE will need to be expanded over the coming years and stated that schools promote ECE and pre-primary education as recognition to national building. The ETSSP also revealed that the Government intends to target 100% early childcare and pre-primary enrolment and access to pre-school education. As a result MoE&SD started introducing reception classes in phases to all public primary schools and the demand for ECE teachers was thus created. A substantial number of in-service primary school teachers hence were deployed in the reception schools, in the absence of trained ECE teachers.
On the other hand, the importance of ECDE practitioners/extension workers was also recognised and adequately stressed in the various policy documents of ministries and organisations such as Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Ministry of Health, Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), and UNICEF. The MLGRD had seen the need to provide protection of a child by providing inspectorate who would liaise with stakeholders to promote best practices in child development settings, and offer services with regard to prenatal and postnatal care to the child and mother.
It thus became necessary to achieve a positive development in this line and advocate for development of ECDE professionals, through an introduction of training programme in Botswana. To meet this growing demand, private and vocational training institutions started multiplying.  At UB however, none offered any degree training programme in ECDE that could provide career progression and allow spiralling from diploma to the degree level. The need of continuing education programme to upgrade the qualifications of the in-service primary school teachers who were deployed in reception schools thus became necessary to meet the ever increasing need of the reception classes. At the same time the training of pre-service teachers and the training of inspectorates also gained attention. A new higher level ECDE training programmes was thus established with 2 specialisation, 1) Education (for pre-service and in-service teachers) and 2) Extension (for Inspectorates).

DPE Programmes Objectives

At the completion of the programme students should be able to:
  1. Provide leadership in the improvement of Pre-Primary, Primary/Basic education, in collaboration with other departments and the Ministry of Education.
  2. Strive toward becoming a centre of excellence dedicated to improving the quality of teacher education and teaching in the Pre-Primary and Primary schools.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of a wide range of educational issues regarding child development, language and literacy, science, social science and mathematical skills, research, assessment, and state of the art ICT skills.
  4. Contribute to the body of knowledge about the educational enterprise in Botswana through research and evaluation undertakings.
  5. Strive toward becoming agents of innovation and changes in the field of Pre-primary, Primary/Basic Education.
  6. Demonstrate leadership skills for the education sector.
Contact Details :
University of Botswana, Department of Primary Education, Block 226