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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:National Service: Is it a Thirteenth Year of Education? The Rise and Fall of an Innovation in Botswana
Authors:Molefe, Dorcas
Weeks, Sheldon
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:civic service
secondary education
Development and Technology
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Abstract:Tirelo Setshaba (TS), a form of national service in Botswana, served to expose O-level graduates to the realities of their own society - the conditions and lifeways of people in rural and remote areas - by providing a bridging year for matriculating to tertiary education, with the intention of making their participation in continuing education more effective. As a thirteenth year in a twelve-year educational system, the government of Botswana also designed national service to promote self-development and cross-cultural exposure, and to build work experience for its participants. TS placed participants with user departments on individual assignments in primary schools, rural clinics, with the 'kgotla' (local government), and many other agencies. In 1998, the Botswana government decided that TS would have its last intake in April 1999 and would be terminated in April 2000. The government perceived national service as a programme that 'triple benefited' a small, elite minority of youth but neglected the majority of youth (83 percent of the age group). This article considers whether TS was equivalent to a thirteenth year of education. Information was made available to the researchers through large-scale data collection from interviews, 100 work diaries and over 4000 completed forms and questionnaires of TS participants between 1995-1997. The article reveals that, while failing to implement the key educational components that had been originally planned in the early 1980s, the majority of the participants (80 percent) valued their experience highly and thus equated it to a successful thirteenth year. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.