© 2018 Dr. M. Sheppard

Botswana Kanye Households People Lands Cattle-post Crafts


Economic Development in all sectors has been the aim of the Botswana Government since independence. At independence there were 251 primary schools,with 71,546 pupils, and 9 secondary schools, with 1,565 pupils. Also there was a small trade school with 60 pupils. There was a chronic teacher shortage and 50% of the primary teachers were untrained. In fact only 25% of the population received any education at all. Only 20% of the primary leavers could find secondary places so there was a great shortage of all trained personnel. By 1978 there were 130,000 primary pupils and 17 secondary schools (either grant-aided or Government), 5 more secondary schools were built by the 1980's and there were plans for the Government to take over the large number of private secondary schools. There is also an expanding agriculture college to train agricultural extension workers and it is also the focus of agricultural research, particularly for dryland farming. In 1982  Botswana established its own university at Gaborone. before then it  had shared resources with Swaziland (up to 1975 with Lesotho as well). There are various other educational institutions that provide in-service training in short-term courses. On the whole Botswana is a healthy country because of the dry climate and scattered population. The 1971 census showed that the rate of natural increase is 3.08% per annum. Infant mortality is lower than in any other country South of the Sahara for which comparable statistics are available, i.e. 126 per 1000 of children under 2. Life expectancy is high:-

Males Females

At birth 52.5 years 58.6 years

At age 40 71.2 years 73.7 years
At age 60 75.6 years 78.2 years

Today most children receive at least some years of primary education, but secondary education is still limited to the few lucky ones. There are still many people who are illiterate, particularly older people. Education is not necessarily connected with wealth. Some traditionalists still oppose it although primary education is now free. Probably the main hindrance was that, until recently, schools were mostly located in the villages, and children's services were often required at the Lands and Cattle-posts, hence they were unable to attend school.

There is also an unfortunate but by no means unique attitude particularly amongst secondary leavers. They do not, even if they are unable to find employment, want to go to the Lands or Cattle-posts on a permanent basis. Employment opportunities, as has already been stated, are mainly outside the area, involving migration.

Production of traditional crafts is probably dying out because the skills required obviously need a long period of time to be spent with the traditional teachers, and increasingly - due to the requirements of formal education - young people have less of this time.

Secondary students from Seepapitso Secondary School on outing to Gaborone, late 1970s

Gaborone Dam

Holiday Inn, Gaborone

National Museum, Gaborone

Sports Day in 1979. Despite the  lack of modern sports facilities Seepapitso Secondary School produced a Middle Distance Olympiad runner for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow

Seepapitso Secondary School, Kanye built after independence. As other secondary schools it serves students from the local area as day students and those from further afield are boarders.Only those Primary School Children who did very well in the Standard VII exam are allocated a place at Secondary School.