Botswana government has a standing policy that teacher graduates who fall pregnant while on the job should be fired.
A group of unemployed teacher graduates took to the streets to raise national awareness against pregnancy discrimination in the civil service and the high rates of youth unemployment in the country.
The Botswana government is said to be prohibiting pregnancy amongst teacher graduates employed on temporary basis to fall pregnant.
When handing over a petition to the minister of Basic Education, Bagalatia Arone in the capital Gaborone on Friday, the group demanded that amongst others, the minister should investigate issues of sexual misconduct by officials within his ministry.
The group led by Kesaobaka Ditsheke, who is also an unemployed teacher graduate told Arone that since the introduction of ‘contractual hiring’, some senior government officials continue to seek “sexual favours” from female graduates while their male counterparts have been made to pay for contract renewals.
Not only that, the minister was also told that it has been government policy to terminate contract of female graduate teachers who have been employed on temporary basis when they fall pregnant.
Through a five pages petition, the graduates slammed the government that the serious discriminatory conduct of not allowing female teachers graduates maternity leave borders on infringement of human rights. “Government as an employer should be the champion of workplace rights and freedoms, not to assume a dictatorial role of determining when and how one wants to bear and grow their children or plan their families,” Ditsheke said. Ditsheke and his group walked over 200 kilometres from Mahalapye for a period of six days passing through villages such as Dibete, Phalaroad, Artesia and Mochudi where they raised awareness on problems besieging the education sector. In his response, Minister Arone promised the concerned group that the government will given them audience as soon as President Mokgweetsi Masisi has made pronouncement relating to job creation in the larger economy.
What they demand
- Govt must close two colleges and convert them into 2 secondary schools.
- Reshuffle of officers in the ministry to curb corruption.
- Minor subjects be recognised as basis for employment.
- Investigate sexual misconduct, bribery, recruitment process across all regions.
- Teacher intern programme be discarded
- Temporary employment be used for emergency relief not as a way to cover vacant post for years.
- Teacher ÔÇô student ration be of international standard, that a class have at most 25 students.