Sunday, November 29, 2020

Now invigilators are up in arms against the BEC

Some of the invigilators who took part in the recent examinations are accusing the embattled Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) of failing to pay them.

The BEC employed outside invigilators during its stand-off with the Botswana Teachers Union, which was asking for more money than the BEC paid the outside invigilators.

Tebo Letso, a young graduate from a teaching college and an invigilator, said that all they have been getting from BEC have been promises that they will be paid but “that is still to happen”.

”We have been given promise after promise but the promises have never been fulfilled,” said Letso.
He said that the BEC seems to be taking their case lightly as every time they phone they are told to “wait you will be paid”.

Another invigilator, Tiego Kitso, who is also a graduate, said that what concerns him most is that the BEC officials were desperate to get invigilators to do the job after which they now seem not to see the importance of paying them on time.

“It is like they were just using us and have now dumped us after we have done the work that the teachers were reluctant to do; this is very unethical,” he said with a twinge of anger.

Tirelo Sebe, yet another invigilator but a retired teacher, said that the failure to pay them on agreed time just proves right the teachers who have been accusing the BEC of being untrustworthy.
”We finished marking examinations about a month ago and we have not yet been paid,” said Sebe. “It is disgusting to say the least.”

The BEC has this year been faced with numerous problems related to the invigilation and marking of examination.

First, it was the breakdown of negotiations with the teachers unions over the amount they would be paid.

Teachers’ unions were demanding P150 per hour, whilst the BEC was saying it could only afford P28, which the Unions turned down.

The Public Relations Officer of the BEC, Charles Ikotlhae, confirmed that some of the invigilators had not yet been paid for several reasons.

Some, he said, could be because they had submitted inadequate information on their claim forms or that the regional offices, which were supposed to submit the forms to them, had taken time in doing so.

He, however, stressed that they are working around the clock to see to it that they are all paid. He also explained that such cases were few compared to those they have already paid.

In a related case, Teachers Unions chiefs recently expressed happiness that President Ian Khama had given them a “rare” audience to listen to their grievances.

They said that the meeting with the President was cordial and brought hope that something will be done about their long standing grievances, which the different Ministers at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development have so far failed to address.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.