The government is said to be employing more and more tactics by the day to force teachers to clear the backlog of student work since the country’s two-month long strike began as students refuse to attend classes.
By Friday, there were reports filtering from different junior secondary schools that school heads were having their hands full trying to contain rowdy students who are refusing to attend classes demanding to be taught school work they missed during the strike.
Teachers have been employing the ‘no pay no work’ principle to counter the government’s ‘no work no pay’ principle since the strike was suspended, preferring to do meaningful work in line with their scheme of work.
Teachers have been served with standard letters that inform them to appear before disciplinary hearings at various schools, such as Moruakgomo JSS in Molepolole, Motswasele in Gaborone, and Selolwane in Francistown.
At most schools, some students are said to be skipping class to play constituency football while others loiter in the school premises ignoring calls from school heads to go to class leaving teachers also helpless.
Botswana Secondary School Teachers Union (BOSETU) publicity secretary, Mogomotsi Motshegwa, said on Friday that the union was aware of such reports and were dealing with the matter. He regretted that this should be happening at a time when the teachers and the employer could be reaching out to each other for reconciliation.
“The government is coming up with punitive measures which can only harden attitudes and further polarize the volatile relationship between teachers and schools management. The Ministry of Education and Skills Development must appreciate that the situation at schools is abnormal.
Students are rowdy and this might compromise the safety of teachers,” said Motshegwa.
The BOSETU spokesman said the government has an obligation to provide a conducive working environment for teachers.
“We call on the employer to bring stability at schools. A solution has to be found at national level,” said Motshegwa.