The Botswana Sectors of Education Trade Union (BOSETU) has expressed unhappiness with the Ministry of Education (MoE)’s reported lack of action on teachers’ concerns and the deteriorating relationship between teachers and the education ministry.
Addressing members of the media on Wednesday in Gaborone, BOSETU president, Shandukani Hlabano, said that teachers to date have not been paid for the course work and invigilation that they did last year. He said that this amounts to dishonesty and is bad industrial relations.
Hlabano further stated that the MoE is reluctant to resolve the teachers’ issues and added that there seems to be no willingness on the part of the government as the employer to resolve problems in education.
“The 2012/2013 budget shows a reduction in the allocation given to the Ministry of Education. There are now more managers of education than people to be managed, and the bulk of the budget in the ministry hence forth goes to the managers of education,” said Hlabano.
He gave a current example where there are 10 regional directors nationwide, and said that the salary of one director can pay seven teachers. Over and above that, Hlabano stated the contention that most of those directors do not add value to education.
He also stated that they are aware that the eight-hour working day is not ideal for a school system as it has eroded and degraded the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
According to Hlabano, the education being offered in schools as a result of the eight-hour working day is mainly academic which does not holistically mould the child. He added that the absence of co-curricular activities in schools has literally stopped the supply of athletes to various sporting codes in the country.
Tobokani Rari, BOSETO’s National External Examinations-course work monitor, said their queries include the issues of Regional offices, returning teachers claim forms for course work assessment on the basis that more than one teacher had submitted claims for one candidate. He said teachers are restricted payment for marking course work script to only one teacher even if the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) requirements demand that more than one teacher should mark a script.
“This is a departure from the original agreement,” he said. “Sometime last year, teachers decided to wait for the conclusion of the negotiations on hours of work in the teaching service under the shadows of the law by implementing a protest eight-hour working day,” he explained.