BIHL Trust partners with MoESD and Stepping Stones to improve literacy nationwide

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BIHL Group CEO Gaffar Hassam

BIHL Group CEO Gaffar Hassam

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) has formed a public-private partnership with Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Trust and Stepping Stones International. The tripartite relationship sees a long-term literacy project that was officially launched in Gaborone on Wednesday 13th August 2014. The Literacy Training project aims to improve English literacy rates in schools across Botswana.

The project comes on the back of a total of 8 schools adopted by BIHL through the BIHL Trust and the overwhelmingly successful Adopt-A-School initiative championed by The Ministry of Education and Skills Development.

Said Director of Ministry of Education and Skills Development Curriculum, Mr. Ndondo Koolese, “We are incredibly proud of the Literacy Training project and the milestone this marks in the combined efforts of the public and private sectors for a common good. The project works to empower and equip local teachers with the skills and resources to foster greater English literacy levels amongst young students. Schools to benefit from the programme include: Chakaloba (Topisi), Mafetsakgang (Bobonong), Seinane (Kweneng), Bana ba Metsi (Shakawe), Kuke (Gantsi) and Mmathabakwe (Mopipi). We urge other corporates to follow in this path and work to support government initiatives to develop the community in this way.”

Said BIHL Trust Administrator, Tebogo Keepetsoe, “Sustainability forms a crucial pillar of the BIHL Group and indeed the work of the BIHL Trust. Education and empowerment are a strong part of that, and we continue to pledge our unwavering support for platforms that empower young Batswana with access to knowledge that will shape their very futures, and impact further generations.”

Practical implementation by Stepping Stones International has shown a demonstrable improvement in academic performance following the implementation of key literacy interventions, Early Steps SM and Next Steps SM in partnership with the University of Utah Reading Clinic. The platforms will be implemented by Stepping Stones International’s instructors as a base from which to train teachers. Past interventions have seen youth advance a full standard reading level in just over four months.

Said Lisa Jamu, Managing Director and Founder of Stepping Stones International, “Of the children who were assessed in the past, Form 4 students were reading at a Standard 6 to Form 1 level, and Form 1 students were reading at a Standard 2-4 level. Following interventions, these literacy levels  shifted significantly. We have seen improvement in confidence in studying, as well as improved progress in school across all subjects. We want to share and spread this improved academic confidence and performance across schools, and the support of the Ministry and corporates such as BIHL allow us to do just that.”

The Literacy training officially kicked off this week as schools closed for the August holidays, and will see Reception, Standard 1 and 2 and one Standard 3 English teachers trained for 9 days in Early and Next Steps and classroom management.  Standard 3 through 7 English teachers will then be trained from the 25 August to 3 September on Next and Higher Steps and classroom management. The schools will be provided with the original literacy kits and training materials to initiate the project. The schools will be supported further through on going observation visits, feedback and coaching to the teachers to ensure the interventions and curriculum are implemented with fidelity.

“In order to achieve the Vision of an educated, informed nation, and an economy driven by an educated and passionate minds, we need to empower our teachers and the children they educate with the tools for success. This is one step in that direction. It is an incredibly exciting development and no doubt an investment we will all see the bountiful returns into the future,” concluded Keepetsoe.


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