Sunday, January 29, 2023

No End in Sight for School Sports Problem

The standoff between government and teachers over the resuscitation of school sport is still far from over, Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU) executive secretary Tobokani Rari has confirmed.

This is despite the recent meeting between Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU) to find solutions on the issue. The meeting however did not bear any fruit. The two unions have also made it known they will interdict the government if it engages teachers without the consent of unions.

Rari is adamant that teachers will not participate until they are satisfied that government will remunerate them well. He also doubts the commitment of government in terms of consultations. “We are not consulted when school sports where transferred to the ministry of Youth Sport and Culture Development and how is it going to be run,” he says.

The BOSETU executive secretary says the government told the unions that they have a policy on how sport volunteers are remunerated and they did not reveal how they will be paying teachers. “The government must tell us (unions) how they will remunerate teachers who will be involved in sport. Teachers will be working after hours and according to the Employment Act they must be paid overtime allowance. That is what we want as unions,” he says.

Rari further says the government must bring forward proposals because they will not allow teachers to be paid meager allowances when they are doing good to develop sport in the country. “It is of paramount importance for the government to give proposal so that parties can engage further,” he said.

BOSETU will not tolerate or allow a situation where teachers will be engaged without government agreeing on welfare conditions agreed to by the union. Asked what will happen if government adopts divide and rule position and engage teachers separately, he said: “We will be going out on a rigorous campaign in January to address and sensitise our members not to participate in sport without the involvement of unions. We warn government against doing any agreement without the input of unions. We will approach courts to interdict such an arrangement,” he says.

On 7th November BTU and BOSETU in a letter to members advised that, “membership are advised NOT to accept any offers or conditions regarding their services to School Sports until such a time that the Unions have concluded a protected negotiated position with the Ministry responsible”.

During the annual general meeting of the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) on Thursday, the chairperson, Marumo Morule observed that “BNSC acknowledges the importance of extra curricula activities in schools. Sport has been proven to be key to the overall development of our young people and in certain instances, to also contribute to better results, leadership and other qualities as well attendance of school by learners. BNSC desire nothing else but ensuring that they get the opportunity to participate in sport”. Marumo said that BNSC could not resuscitate school sport in 2022, but is happy that a series of consultations between MYSC, Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Ministry of Local Government, the BNSC and some trade unions took place over the last few months.

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