Botswana is a completely land-locked country and straddles the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern African Plateau. It has a total surface area of about 582 000 square kilometres, which is about the size of France or Texas in the USA. Botswana shares borders with Namibia to the west, Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the northeast and South Africa to the south.
Botswana became a protectorate of the British Empire in 1885 and was then called Bechuanaland Protectorate. On September 30, 1966 Bechuanaland Protectorate became the independent Republic of Botswana. When Botswana achieved its independence there were 251 primary schools, nine secondary schools, two primary teacher training colleges, one trade school and no university. At independence, only 20 percent of school age group were enrolled in primary school, and only eight percent of school age group proceeded to secondary school. In the two decades following independence, the Ministry made great strides in providing the necessary school buildings in all parts of the country to allow children of school age to attend school. By 1986 just over 90 percent of school age children were in school and by 1996 this figure had risen to 96 percent. Although most parents see the value of education and send their children to school, there are still one or two pockets in rural areas where the parents have not yet appreciated the value of education. Nevertheless, great progress has been made and it was anticipated that all children would be enrolled in school by the year 2002. Due to the critical shortage of well-trained workers to staff the public service, education was given the highest priority in the allocation of resources.
The official languages in Botswana are Setswana and English, the latter being the main language used in business. Presently the medium of instruction in school is Setswana from Standards 1 to 4 and English thereafter. The new policy on education requires that English be used as the medium of instruction from Standard 2. The date for implementation of this recommendation was the year 2002, after the necessary revisions of the curriculum have been effected.