Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges

Botswana: Education in a Global Context

Why Botswana?

The beautiful country of Botswana, with its rich history and culture, provides an excellent location for field work in English primary schools. The country's commitment to education is evidenced by the founding of the University of Botswana in 1982 when Batswana and other stakeholders made contributions of all types, including cash, cattle, grain, eggs, towards fundraising to establish a campus in Gaborone. 

Botswana is one of Africa's most stable countries - economically and politically. The capital city of Gaborone is a fast growing city that with a booming central business district within sight of traditional villages. 

Course description

This travel seminar centers around 32 hours of field experience within Botswanan primary schools, working with children and teachers. On-site seminar classes will focus on preparation for the field experiences, as well as on reflective practice, and written analysis of placement experiences with the context and culture. Focused observation templates will be utilized to guide classroom experiences in local elementary schools. Local experts in Botswana will provide a range of guest lectures on topics including the impact of race, gender, ethnicity, language and class in the Botswanan education system, along with other issues, opportunities and challenges within their education system.

Additionally, students will engage in a range of co-curricular and cultural activities such as a weekend homestay with a host family, tour of Gaborone, community engagement, as well as an overnight excursion to Mokolodi Nature Reserve. 

Learning goals

  • Analyze the goals and purpose of schooling in the context of the culture and history of Botswana.
  • Enact a multidimensional perspective of education.
  • Evaluate and expand intercultural awareness and respect.
  • Examine personal and positionalities to prepare for international learning experiences.
  • Engage in thoughtful dialogue and active engagement in field placement experiences in Gaborone.
  • Reflect, discuss and write about the impact of race, gender, native language, ethnicity and class in Botswana's school curriculum.
  • Formulate a research question, a hypothesis, and a general plan for investigating an issue or concern based on experiences in Botswana.
  • Integrate research, reflections, observation notes and field experiences to create a multimedia presentation. 

Sample Itinerary

May 26 - Depart NYC for Gaborone, Botswana

May 27 - Arrive in Gaborone Botswana; group dinner.

May 28 - Orientation and city tour

May 29 - Depart for Mokolodi Nature Reserve; overnight

May 30 - Return to Gaborone

May 31 - Guest lecture "Overview of Botswana's Education System" and first meeting at schools 

June 1 - Guest lecture "The Language Issue in Botswana Education" and field experience

June 2 Field experience

June 3 - Guest lecture "Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in School Curriculum in Botswana" and field experience.

June 4 - Field experience, seminar meeting and individual conference meetings; depart for homestay weekend.

June 5 - Homestay weekend

June 6 - Return to Gaborone from homestay weekend

June 7 - Guest lecture "Botswana Inclusive Education Policy: Issues, Opportunities and Challenges"; field experience and individual meetings

June 8 - Field experience and individual meetings

June 9 -  Field experience

June 10 - Community Engagement

 June 11 - Final project presentations and farewell dinner

June 12 - Depart for NYC

Important information

Dates: May 26 - June 12, 2021

Corequisite: Students will enroll in ED 261A (Themes in Education: Cultural, Political and HIstorical Influences on Botswanan Education) for spring 2021 semester.  If students completed the ED 261A course in spring 2020, they are eligible to participate in the spring 2021 travel seminar. 

Credits: 1 credit for ED 261A and 2 credits for TX200B

Program Fee: The anticipated fee is $5,300 (subject to fluctuation). The program fee includes Skidmore tuition, round-trip airfare between New York and Gaborone, Botswana, ground transportation for program excursions, on-site accommodations in shared rooms, some meals, international medical insurance, entrance fees, local resource faculty, excursions and Skidmore faculty. Financial aid is available for eligible students. 

Meals and Accommodation: The program fee includes program housing in shared accommodations. More specific information about meals and housing will be communicated to students upon acceptance. 

Flights: Roundtrip airfare from New York City to Gaborone, Botswana is included in the program fee. 

Application Process: The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020. Students are required to apply for Travel Seminars through the MyOCSE portal.  Students will also be required to meet with Professor Virginia Lee to discuss their interest in the travel seminar. Applications will be reviewed and students will be notified of acceptances before spring 2021 course registration. Students will then be required to register for ED261A for the spring 2021 semester.

Questions?

Stop by the OCSE office (Starbuck 202) or contact Professor Virgina Lee (vlee@skidmore.edu) directly.