The Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and the Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU)’s ugly relationship has resurfaced and a showdown appears inevitable over sporting activities.
Sporting activities at secondary schools have for some time now been on hold due to a remuneration standoff.
While BISA is adamant its core mandate is to see the smooth running of sporting activities at secondary schools by teacher members across the country, BOSETU, on the other hand, insists the institution is encroaching into its territories.
BOSETU says BISA is negotiating with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development behind their back for the teachers to resume the activities without proper agreement on the table between government and teachers over overtime allowances.
“The mandate of BISA is explicitly clear that they come up with sporting schedule and to oversee the smooth running of spots activities. To negotiate with the ministry of Education and Skills Development over the overtime allowances of the teachers and give instructions, BISA should know that it has no legs to stand on,” argued BOSETU secretary general, Tabokani Rari, on Friday, insisting BISA was rekindling the war that had subsided by encroaching onto the domain that is not theirs.
“BISA should know it is the mandate of recognized Unions to negotiate the welfare of the teachers. By negotiating with the ministry and giving instructions BISA should know that it is treading on thin waters,” he revealed.
Sporting activities came to a screeching halt towards 2010 because Unions representing teachers demand an overtime pay. BISA president on Wednesday unveiled plans and schedule for the year 2012 saying the revised schedule was necessitated by the release of a savingram by the ministry of Education and Skills and Development which reinstated extra activities to be incorporated within the eight hours.
“The teachers requested BISA Executive Committee to find out from the ministry what they should do within the eight hours. We did submit a revised schedule of activities in line with the ministry which suggested that activities be carried out within eight hours,” revealed Steve Botlhasitse.
He pointed out that their actions were merely informed by the institution’s mandate which, among others, calls for the coordination and promotion of sport participation in the country. Since not all teachers are members of BOSETU, Botlhasitse parried insinuations BISA could have engaged the institution, saying as an independent organ they had to exercise their discretion in a bid to stimulate interest and awareness of sports in the country as is dictated by their mandate. Should the teachers go beyond the stipulated eight hour schedule, BISA president indicated they would thus be entitled for overtime allowance- an endorsement not shared by BOSETU. “We still have outstanding differences with government. For example, over the eight hours period and the overtime allowances. And for BISA to give teachers a green light to participate in sports is quite absurd,” Rari concluded, falling short of advising teachers to disregard the instructions and schedule.
Troubled by what they termed BISA’s absurd behavior to negotiate with the ministry without their input over the teacher’s plight, BOSETU in recent months reined in the institution only for the two to smoke a peace pipe.