Learning levels in Botswana are low and stagnating. Among its regional neighbours in East and Southern Africa, Botswana ranks amongst the highest in access to education, but ranks poorly on basic math and literacy proficiency, behind Tanzania and Kenya.
In 2018, Youth Impact (Formerly known as Young 1ove) and the University of Botswana conducted an assessment of basic literacy and numeracy in two regions and found striking gaps in learning. 32% of standard 5 students could not perform subtraction, and 88% could not perform simple division. 43.5% could not read a story in English, and a fifth of students could not read a paragraph. Students are falling multiple grade levels behind and they are failing to acquire basic skills as well.
In 2021, Youth Impact signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education to scale TaRL nationally. This extends an MoU signed in 2018. The organisation signed a Letter of Agreement with J-PAL and Pratham to collaborate on the Botswana scale-up over the next five years and to build an Innovation Hub in Southern Africa that will be catalytic for the broader TaRL scale-up effort across Africa supported by Co-Impact. Youth Impact also partners with the Center for Universal Education at Brookings to chronicle the scale-up process, as well as with USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) which is supporting the Botswana scale-up. The organisation also has the TaRL Scaling Committee, which is chaired by the Director of the Ministry of Basic Education and brings together a coalition of partners, government staff, teachers, and school heads.
1) Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality. (2007). SACMEQ-III Project. Botswana. Retrieved from http://www.sacmeq.org/?q=
2) UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (n.d). Gross intake ratio in first grade of primary education, total (% of relevant age group). Retrieved from http://uis.unesco.org/country/