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Second chance education in Botswana: Implementing a holistic approach based on the botho philosophy to empower marginalized youth in the Kweneng District

Kelone Khudu-Petersen, Attwell Mamvuto


This paper reports on a project initiated by the non- governmental organization Springboard Humanism (SBH) based in Molepolole, the capital of the Kweneng District of Botswana. The project aims to empower young marginalized women, particularly indigenous BaSarwa and BaKgalagari, who dropped out of school at Junior Certifi cate Examination (JCE) level (Year 10). The modus operandi at SBH is botho, an African philosophy emphasizing caring, sharing, showing respect and compassion. Participatory action research was conducted with 60 purposively sampled students and other stakeholders who were asked to participate. The study used interviews, observations and document analysis to generate data. The project had been running for three years (2012–2014) at the time of the study and has shown potential to generate positive outcomes and to empower marginalized ethnic minority learners, especially females. Participants in the project have managed to pass the JCE which enables them to enter senior secondary school or vocational education. It is recommended that Botswana’s education system adopt this pathway to mainstream education to help ethnic minority youth improve their academic performance.


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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740