Education & Jobs

Four principles of education

Botswana’s education policy documents over the last four decades (including the latest – ‘Vision 2016’) have all endorsed the philosophy of ‘Education for Kagisano’ or social harmony.School children in Botswana

For Botswana, the ideal education system promotes four principles – democracy, development, self-reliance and unity.

Vocational and academic learning

Nursery schools and early learning centres are increasing in numbers across the country, with around a fifth of fives-and-under attending pre-school.

High literacy

Literacy among young people in Botswana is high, with 95% of 15-24 year olds able to read and write.

Primary education is provided free from the age of six to 13 years, when junior secondary school begins. Most of the cost for secondary education is also funded by the state.

At around 15, pupils take the Junior Certificate Examination. This determines whether they carry on further in school.

Botswana’s ten-year school programme (primary and junior secondary) combines academic subjects with vocational and practical skills. This system was influenced by the educationalist (and anti-apartheid campaigner) Patrick van Rensburg who founded a series of ‘Brigades’ or technical colleges across the country.

Senior secondary school involves a further two years of study and opens up the prospect of attending University or college.

A key employer, but diamonds aren't 'forever'

A star mine

Opened in 1971, the mine at Orapa, west of Francistown, is the world’s largest volume producer of diamonds.

Diamond mining currently accounts for around one quarter of jobs in Botswana, either directly or indirectly. However, this number will decline in the future as deposits are depleted and mines have to be shut down or their capacity reduced.

The government realises that the country will need to diversify and build up employment in other industries.

Tourism is seen as an important growing sector of the economy in Botswana. It already provides jobs for around a fifth of the country’s workforce.

While programmes have been put in place to develop areas such as the Okavango Delta, the government is also mindful about disturbance to nature. Tourism projects are also expected to bring benefits for local communities.