At least 60 teachers are expected to meet with President Ian Khama at State House on the 20th July 2012, to dialogue on teachers’ grievances.
This follows an invitation made by Khama at the Botswana Examinations Council Excellency awards last month (June).
“All ten regions will be represented and we have been gender sensitive in our selection of teachers,” said Dr Theophelous Mooko, the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education Skills Development.
Mooko said they are not aware of what will be discussed at the meeting.
“We did not forward any grievances to Khama; we are just honouring his invitation; he will inform us on why he has invited teachers,” said Mooko. Teacher unions and the education ministry are expected to form part of the delegation.
The teacher unions have been at odds with their ministry over teachers’ grievances for a while without reaching a consensus. Hence the call by the President to have a one on one talk with the teachers, hopefully ushering in a new era for the teachers.
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.
During the BEC awards, Khama said teachers were not wrong to complain over salary adjustments; instead they should come together sit down and discuss their issues with him.
“Teachers should stop complaining about money and discussing their issues elsewhere does not help,” he said.
The Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) has appreciated the invitation saying, “We hope that the President will appreciate the negative impact of unresolved levels of operation and hours of work for teachers on the PSLE, JC and BGSE examinations.”
For the first time, the president has opened his door to the teachers who have always suspected their grievances were not reaching him.