Wednesday, December 8, 2021

BTU demands answers over contracts of temporary teachers

Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) is demanding answers from government following indications that a sizeable number of temporary teachers’ contracts will not be renewed next year.

This is despite the Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao announcing before Parliament this year that government will renew contracts of temporary teachers.

BTU President Gotlamang Oitsile said although they are still trying to ascertain the number of teachers whose contracts will not be renewed, government should be called out for being dishonest.

“We are following up the matter to understand who between Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and the Ministry of Basic Education is behind this move because there are two contradicting statements,” said Oitsile.

“We are trying to establish what informed this decision and also to know which regions have already been served with those notices,” said the BTU President.

Oitsile also stated that it is after their investigations that they will seek audience with government to map a forward, adding that the only best way for government in this matter is to re-consider its decision.

He further indicated that government should be transparent and honest enough with teachers, adding that this is an inconvenience as it they were told that contracts will be renewed.

“These are Batswana employees and secondly they have commitments based on their contracts, so we are disappointed in government for failing to engage on this issue,” added Oitsile.

He also said there is an unhealthy relationship between government and the union, adding that the former has a tendency of failing to consult stakeholders.

Oitsile stated that the non-renewal of teachers’ contracts will also reverse the gains, saying that progress was being made to absorb teacher graduates.

“Government has now taken a step back, we have been decrying lack of employment of teachers in schools when we all know that there are vacancies, so this is going to weigh down efforts that have were made previously,”

“We cannot allow such things to happen, where teachers’ contracts are terminated while some not renewed without any consultation because we know for a fact that this will now mean more work for permanent teachers,” said Oitsile.

Last year, government hired over 1,700 temporary teachers to ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

At the time, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Basic Education Bridget John informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it was the Ministry’s intention to maintain manageable classes even after Covid-19.

This last year, The Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao told Parliament that government has put in place a plan to offer full-time contracts to 1,300 teachers who are currently serving on temporary basis.

He further went on to say that these teachers will be hired within a period of 3 years beginning this year.

He also noted that the budget for this coming financial year allows the Ministry to kick start the plan this year.

At the time government indicated that it was due to GABS system having been down for a week.

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