It could be breaking dawn for the teaching sector with the President Ian khama having expressed interest to dialogue with teachers in a relaxed mode over their grievances.
“I will set up a date when I will meet with teachers at my house and discuss their grievances,” said Khama.
The teacher unions have been at odds with Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) over teacher’s grievances for a while without reaching a consensus. Hence the call by the President to have a one on one talk with the teachers might usher in a new era for the teachers.
“Teachers should stop complaining about money and discussing their issues elsewhere does not help,” said Khama.
For some time teacher unions have been battling with MoESD to iron out thorny issues but to no avail. Complaints have been raised over low salaries, high shortage of accommodation in primary schools; the issues of hours of work and classification of teachers as essential service are some of the issues that have so far remained unresolved.
“You are not wrong when you complain over salary adjustments, instead we should come together sit down and discuss your issues,” he said. For the first time, the president has opened his door to the teachers who have always suspected their grievances were not reaching the President.
Khama‘s invitation was hailed by teachers who felt that, finally, things are changing for the better.
“It is an encouraging and assuring move by the President to open his door to teachers,” said Ronald Ketshabe, the Administration Secretary for Education and training at the BTU. Ketshabe said, as teachers, they don’t take this opportunity availed by the President for granted.
“According to our understanding, there is something that has been kept away from the President and he wants to hear it from us,” he said.
Speaking at the BEC Excellency Awards, Khama commended retired teachers who have been doing voluntary work, offering their services in different schools. “Teachers should go an extra mile and do voluntary work because you are doing this for the betterment of our nation,” he said.
It is Khama‘s expectation that teachers and schools who display an outstanding performance should be rewarded.