What Inspired the “Springboard Humanism” idea?
During her research in 2005- 2006, Dr. Khudu-Petersen, who is a lecturer at the University of Botswana, was appalled by the high level of unemployment, particularly affecting young women in Remote Area Dweller (RAD) villages in Botswana. Many young women were deprived of any chance of further education and were living in poverty. Her research revealed that many proceed from primary school level to junior secondary school with poor academic results. The children, particularly girls, then fail the Junior Certificate Examination, among other reasons, due to lack of consideration of their specific culture, which differs from the culture that determines the mode of delivery in education. Motivated to help girls from these communities, Dr. Khudu-Petersen and a group of enthusiasts decided to take action; they founded “Springboard Humanism” in 2011.
Unemployment amongst youth is a major problem in Botswana. It corresponds with a high school drop-out rate and failure rate, a high teenage pregnancy rate and a high rate of HIV/STD infections. One of the hardest hit groups are female youth originating from the Kweneng West Sub-District. Reasons for disproportionately high levels in this area are:
- disadvantages in the education system of Botswana due to most pupils’ lack of fluency in Setswana, as their mother tongue is mostly either SeSarwa or SheKgalagari,
- disadvantages due to the increased vulnerability of women regarding HIV infections, domestic violence and exploitation and
- disadvantages due to lack of infrastructure and job opportunities in the area.
The academic cut-off point for youths in Botswana is the Junior Certificate result after Form 3 (Grade 10) which selects students for admission in a Senior Secondary School. Most unemployed youth in Kweneng West left school with poor JC results. Chances of employment or vocational training are generally restricted to students holding a JC with a ‘pass’ or even a BGCSE exam result obtained after Form 5 at a Senior Secondary School.