Faced with challenges on non-recognition by government as building blocks of early childhood learning as well as unavailability of job opportunities, early childhood educators recently converged in Maun for self-empowerment, and ponder on opportunities in the field.
The early childhood workshop was organised by an Early Childhood Education Consultant, Ditso Phillip for early childhood educators from around the country.
Phillip said that most of these educators depend so much on government for employment such that they have closed their minds to the endless opportunities present in the early childhood education field.
She noted that since employment rate in Botswana is low, some try to make a living by opening up their own learning centers like babysitting services, home schooling services or tutoring which unfortunately are regarded illegal. She indicated that the only services which they are allowed to do are opening a preschool and a day care center which she says is quite expensive to start and even maintain.
She further said that government has absorbed some educators into the system but they however only work as teacher aides, meaning that they are not allowed to teach, do lesson plans nor lesson schemes yet they are hired as permanent and pensionable employees.
“All they do is assist with learning materials and assisting children with basic needs like going to the bathroom and eating,” she highlighted.
A special education needs department teacher, at Kelekele Primary School, Ketshepemang Mochamme who has been working as a teacher aide for a year and a half revealed that dealing with special needs children is very challenging. She said it needs a patient teacher who is passionate about her job because the children can be moody all day, and can even hate the teacher without any reason.
She however lamented that as a passionate teacher, she is not able to assist in the way she wished to as she is not allowed to teach but only assist them with certain activities.
The educators have since come up with ways to empower one another to look into opportunities that exist in the early childhood education field.