Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MOESD) Fidelis Molao says it might take longer than expected for sports teachers particularly to have their grievances and other issues of concern addressed. He said the ministry is currently working on engaging stakeholders in an attempt to resolve overtime pay allowances, among others.
Addressing teachers at the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) conference in Maun on Friday, Molao said he is very much aware of various challenges faced by BISA, thereby making it hard for the association to carry out its mandate as they would have wanted. “I have for a long time now observed barriers which had made you look like failures in executing your assignments, amongst them the inadequate overtime allowances to cover sporting activities, travelling, issues of accommodation and so forth. You need to be rest assured because my ministry through assistance from other stakeholders is working hard at finding long term solutions to all of these. Therefore I would like to appeal to all of you to be patient, and also suggest that you forward and discuss whatever suggestions you might have at your different forums as a way of improving the current situations faced by all of you”, he said.
Meanwhile a teacher at Kgale Hill JSS Lebotse Chelane pointed an accusing finger at the executive committee for their failure to appropriately alert the ministry on issues of great concern. Instead, he said such issues are either swept under the carpet or are sugar coated, thus giving an impression that all is well. “Just a while ago the assistant minister was given the direct opposite of what we encounter in our line of duty. The school of excellence programme for example is continuously overlooked. As it stands now, we still have unanswered questions as to whether coaching staff at schools under this programme are the best. We are also still clueless as to whether funding is for mass participation or sports development. And, so, I am wondering where we are heading if we are expected to do sports on such grounds”.
BISA President Joshua Gaotlhobogwe was also advised to up his game and ensure that in the future he submits a detailed report to the ministry so that they may be taken seriously. The teachers’ concern was such that should the sugar-coating style continue, then their grievances might not be attended to. The other concern was that of school heads who still refuse to sign overtime claims, despite having authorised teachers and or sports masters to do sporting assignments. Another concern raised was that more money is designated for academics as compared to sports activities as the latter is of no importance. They also suggested that centers of excellence should be reviewed as they are currently not doing what was initially agreed upon, thus disadvantaging students along the way. Another suggestion made by teachers was that they should work as a team so that they also have a say and where possible be in a position to challenge decisions made by regional directors, most of which they see as unnecessary.
In response Gaotlhobogwe said he has also personally made an observation that some school heads do as they please such to an extent that they put so pressure on teachers, most of who always relent. He advised that teachers should always make it a point that they alert their supervisors whenever they go on assignments and refrain from seeking claims which are not documented.
For his part, School Heads representative from the North-Central Region Lentibile Kubuitsile said teachers should not look at them as outsiders as they are there to offer the necessary assistance. He noted that it is important also that they know their roles and follow all guidelines outlined in their constitution, failure at which they might find themselves repeating the same mistakes which could have been corrected in time.