Botswana Open University’s College for Open Schooling supported by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) successfully supported girls, children and young women in the Kang Region in the Kgalagadi District in the southwest of the country. This area is located in the Kalahari Desert and it had been observed that enrolment and success rates for girls in this area were lower than expected, indicating the need for more support. The support was for junior-level secondary education curriculum business subjects coordinated by the programme developer in the college, Dr Tommie Hamaluba. The process of the interventions followed training of audio lessons, script writers, then recorders after which the BOU inhouse media team burnt 1,000 audio lessons on CDs which were successfully distributed to the whole of the Kgalagadi – covering both conventional day schools and BOU open schooling centres, impacting close to 500 students specialising in the subjects of Commerce, Accounting and Office Procedures.
The project, which focused on improving access to learning resources for learners struggling to use the e-learning portal by providing resources on CD instead and orientating learners to their use, ran from January 2022 to May 2022 and received massive support from the community such as the chief of Kang, Kgosi Basadi Seipone who participated in some sessions with students. She took part in counselling the students and encouraged them to use the teaching and learning resources seriously.
COL’s Education Specialist for Open Schooling, Dr Tony Mays observes, “While the trend is increasingly towards virtual open schooling provision, in many countries there will be areas in which we need to use older forms of technology such as CDs, flash drives and even printed materials. Open schooling needs to respond flexibly to the needs and circumstances of the learners wherever they may be.”
The programme coordinator Dr Hamaluba thanked COL for its support that enabled him to innovate around business subjects. BOU’s Centre for Open Schooling is hopeful the CDs will increase retention and student pass rates.