oa Botswana Notes & Records - Girls and science in Botswana

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0525-5090



Despite the dramatic increase, since independence, in the numbers of pupils leaving the secondary system in Botswana with one or more science O-Levels, the demand for such people still greatly exceeds the supply. Analysis of O-Level results shows a considerable difference in numbers and quality between the sexes; a difference which is also evident in two independent surveys of science achievement. The phenomenon is not only one of the underachievement of girls in all the sciences, but also the under-representation of girls in science courses in the schools at the senior secondary level and, more dramatically, at the university. Some socio-cultural reasons can be advanced which may to some extent explain these observations. It seems possible that the poor performance of girls may be a consequence of colonial and neo-colonial, rather than traditional, cultural influences. The economic consequences for the country are considerable.

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