Top Lotsane students off to Scotland again
Ten (10) Lotsane Senior Secondary School students are set to travel to Scotland next week for a two-week learning excursion at Charleston Academy courtesy of a global education partnership between the two institutions.
The partnership, which began in 2009 as an initiative of two teachers, Albertinah Milton and Marie Sutherland, has since been incorporated into the British Council’s ‘Connecting Classrooms’ programme that covers several other countries in Africa.
The programme has been hailed as pivotal to improved results at Lotsane Senior Secondary School as teachers and students from either end have shared and exchanged ideas on how to improve teaching and learning methods. The educational exchange programme entails the attendance of classes by both teachers and students of the visiting partner schools.
The Scots visited Botswana last year in July, bringing 33 students and five teachers. The Botswana students on the other hand leave next week Friday and are expected to attend a farewell dinner function hosted by Liberty Life Botswana in Gaborone on the eve of their departure. The ride to Scotland has and continues to be made easier and affordable for the Lotsane students and staff by the support of the school’s partners MVA Fund.
Through their annual cycling events, including last year’s 180km challenge, MVA Fund staffers and their business partners have raised money to cover travel expenses of the Lotsane school students and staff. Last year’s event was staged with the aim of raising money to fly 25 students to Scotland this year, but there was enough to fund only 10 students and three teachers.
Earlier this year, Lotsane’s School Head Thengelani Tshebo told The Midweek Sun that the global exchange programme had contributed significantly to the improved fortunes of the school from perennial strugglers to a berth inside the top ten performing schools in the country. With the students now enjoying a global perspective to learning, the nine students who have benefitted directly from the programme in 2015 have come back from Scotland to score a minimum of 43 points each in the their BGCSE examination results, with the school eventually producing the best student in the country, who incidentally had also been to Scotland in 2015.
The visits to the schools alternate with each passing year, and Tshebo said he was hopeful the programme will continue to help their students develop a positive attitude towards their school work. Between 2011 and 2013 the school hovered around position 11 and 12 in the country but in 2014 they broke into the top ten and further finished seventh in 2015. This year they remained in the top ten, finishing eighth.
The students chosen for the trip should be those who have excelled in their academic studies over the past year, and among the ten who will be jetting off to Scotland, an excited Olebile Sekabodile said she could not wait to see herself on an aeroplane flying across the ocean to Europe, a first time experience for her. “It is an excellent initiative that I wish to see continue because it encourages the spirit of competition in our schools as every student works hard to be chosen for the trips,” she said.
Her colleague, Sethunya Mashabele added: “We know that to go to Scotland one has to work extra hard, and I am glad to have outdone myself enough to go on what will be the most remarkable exposure of my life. Our school now has support from Scotland. We get resources to help in learning as seen with Chemistry and Physics materials that are pushing our school to better results,” she said.
For Rose Tjiparuro, another student on the trip, it will be a lifetime experience. “Apart from sharing cultural and academic experiences, the partnership is also essential in promoting our self-confidence as we Batswana children are often timid. The trip opens up opportunities for academic enhancement which in the long run will benefit our country,” Tjiparuro said.