The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSO) has announced that it will engage on a mass demonstration in protest against the ‘substandard education system’ that it claims the Botswana government is subjecting children to.
In a statement released recently by BOFEPUSO’s General Secretary, Andrew Motsamai, the demonstrations will be held countrywide by all public servants on the 20th and 21st of this month.
The Union says that its concerns stem from the ongoing standoff between teachers and BEC.
The Union accuses government, through BEC, of compromising learner’s livelihoods by engaging external invigilators and markers when teachers were available to do the task. It says that government does not want to have a constructive dialogue with workers.
“The Government’s indifference over the issue is largely due to the fact that the children and grandchildren of those in the corridors of power and influence do not attend Government aided schools and are therefore not affected by the current stand-off between the teachers and BEC,” states Motsamai.
He said education provides an opportunity for children to ‘escape the poverty cycle’.
“We at BOFEPUSO have every sympathy with the children and parents who have needlessly been subjected to an examination process whose credibility, at best for the BEC, is doubtful. The uncertainty regarding credibility of examinations could have easily been avoided if BEC had simply engaged the trade Unions on the terms and conditions regarding the invigilation and marking of examinations,” says Motsamai.
He further states that the disagreement between teachers and government has got nothing to do with finance, but rather it is because government does not consider education a priority.
Motsamai says that in the past and presently, government has been able to finance all projects that it chooses to prioritise.
“Education should be a national priority, and lack of Finances should never be used as an excuse to deny our children the right to education, which right by extension, includes a right to a credible examination process,” argues Motsamai.