Botswana Secondary School Teachers Union (BOSETU) on Friday reignited calls for teachers to be accorded scarce skills allowance like other civil servants. At a press briefing held in Francistown on Friday, BOSETU Deputy Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, said that government’s continued refusal to grant scarce skills allowance to teachers is illegal and unfounded.
He dismissed the Teaching Service Management (TSM) as a toothless organization that does not do anything to empower teachers, saying that it has repeatedly failed to exercise its powers, unlike the Department of Public Service Management (DPSM), which was created on the same footing and under the same Act of parliament.
“DPSM is overshadowing the TSM. The criterion for scarce skills allowance was done by DPSM, and TSM was never involved in the discussions,” he said.
Rari maintains that teachers are also entitled to scarce skills allowances because they also possess skills that are not easily accessible in Botswana, especially in the field of mathematics, sciences, design and technology, computer studies and even special education.
He lamented the fact that TSM is refusing to heed their pleas for scarce skills allowances, despite repeated pleas on their part.
“It is a contradiction for government to insist that there are no scarce skills in the teaching profession while we continue to recruit expatriate teachers to come and work in the country,” he said.
On another issue, BOSETU Publicity Secretary, Mogomotsi Motshegwa, took a swipe at the Ministry of Education and the Director of Botswana Examination Council, whom he accused of failing to honour a ruling made by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi to the effect that teachers should be paid for invigilating examinations as it is beyond their scope of duty.
“BEC has never given us a feedback on the issue, and this is a cause for serious concern,” Motshegwa said.
Last year the Ministry of Education suffered a huge blow when Francistown High Court Judge Phumaphi ruled that teachers cannot be compelled to invigilate or supervise external exams. Phumaphi asserted that since there is no standing contract to that effect between teachers and Botswana Examination Council. He also ruled that the Teaching Service Act does not have a specific clause that deals with the issue. Phumaphi added that the responsibility of invigilation lies with BEC, and teachers have to be paid a fee if they perform such duties.