Promoting academic excellence by
The All Brilliant Minds Organisation (ALBRIMO), a recently registered Non-Governmental Organisation established to promote academic excellence in Botswana and internationally, seeks to change the face of education.
Headed by its founder, Goitsemang Khutsafalo, its mandate is to analyse problems and challenges in the education sector and conceptualise holistic ways to address them. There are programmes to assist learners by preparing them for examinations. If learners do prepare for exams, they lack the knowledge to work out when to start preparing and what tools are necessary to assist them to do well in their exams.
“Passing is something that should be owned by individuals,” says Khutsafalo. He explains that one initiative is a programme called the Ngwaga Ono Le Nna Ke Moo Campaign, which challenges learners to do better in their exams. They also have the Buckle Up Tour that sets up study groups and centres in different parts of the country. Through this campaign, they organise mass revisions which aim to bring together learners who are about to sit for their Junior Certificate and Form 5 exams.
“The whole idea behind this is to synchronise academic excellence countrywide. Participating learners get to share materials and it has really gone a long way in assisting learners,” he says, adding that both government and private schools exchange materials, meaning that this bridges the gap between these schools.
Adding more initiatives
According to Khutsafalo, they are also working on two initiatives – Albrimo Academia and Academic Performance Appraisals. The former is founded on the basis that there are existing academic structures in place that reward excellence such as the annual Excellence Awards that recognise top achievers in the country. However, through the Albrimo Academia they are seeking to reward those who have improved in their studies. The plan is to register as many learners as possible countrywide.
“The tradition right now is that only those who attain 80-100% are rewarded while there is another group of learners who are not celebrated yet they work hard to improve their marks from low to satisfactory results.
“This is something that will go a long way in building their confidence and will build them to assume responsibility on to the next level.” says Khutsafalo. The idea is for them to ultimately host a gala event in Gaborone, where they will be rewarded per school and per region.
With regards to the Academic Performance Appraisals, Khutsafalo says in most cases students fail because of their inability to answer exam questions correctly. It is against this backdrop that mentors show students their technical errors.
Khutsafalo says many students are not prepared for exams while others write exams despite not completing the syllabus. To counter this, his organisation is adopting schools in Moshupa and this includes Diratsame, Mmanaana and Baitirile schools. They deploy tutors to work with the students, thereby pushing them to improve their results.
The importance of monitoring and evaluation
The highly creative team works around the clock to come up with initiatives and solutions to problems that they identify, as opposed to visiting schools for the sake of visiting them.
Khutsafalo points out that, sadly, 85% of graduates end up with wrong career choices and that they hope to end that through their ALBRIMO Expo. This year they worked with the Human Resource Development Council at the annual Botswana Human Resource Skills Fair.
He says that one of the schools that is a shining example is Nanogang Junior School, which topped the 2016 JCE results. “We now have a high number of parents who wish to transfer their children to the schools we have worked with.”
They are targeting a 60% pass rate for their students by 2020. Currently the pass rate is 45%.