Friday, September 18, 2020

Teacher unions differ with the ministry over extra-curricular activities

Consultations between Ministry of Education and Teacher Trade Unions on Extra-Curricular Activities failed to bear fruit.

The participating unions are the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Primary Teachers Union (BOPRITU).

The education ministry engaged Teachers’ Unions on negotiations on the 19th of December 2011 and 6th of January 2012 to come up with an interim arrangement for reinstituting the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in schools in January 2012, which were not successful.

The meetings are being held pending the resolution of the issue concerning hours of work for teachers initiated by the implementation of the New Public Service Act No. 30 of 2008, of which the minister has reported that she has submitted her recommendation to cabinet and the matter seems to be taking time prior to it being resolved hence, there are no extra-curricular activities taking place in schools.

“We could not agree on anything because the manner in which the ministry is approaching this issue is worrisome since it is calling for an interim measure while teachers are in favour of a more comprehensive and long term solution to all issues that relate to their conditions of service and welfare,” said Modise Maeletso, the BTU Publicity Secretary.

Maeletso said MoE had proposed for the reinstatement of extra-curricular activities in schools but it could not be done because there were so many issues that teacher unions raised the ministry could not positively respond to.

Some of the issues include timetables, human resource capacity in schools, logistical challenges in schools, transport for both students and teachers during schools competitions and overtime compensation.

“As Teacher Unions we feel MoE did not do her assignment very well and as such they have to go back and respond to these raised issues. Sports in schools are not the teachers mandate hence MoE or Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) cannot force teachers to participate because conditions of service and scheme of service of teachers does not include sports.”

Additionally, he said being economically disadvantaged does not warrant BOPSSA or MoESD to pressurise teachers to engage in sporting activities. Teachers have been advised to wait for formal communication on when to commence sporting activities in schools since the issue is still under negotiation with the employer.

“BOPSSA is not a negotiating party and, as such, it cannot instruct teachers in schools, particularly in primary schools to do sports; so please ignore them,” Maeletso said. “We are aware that teachers have been threatened that they will be written letters if they do not participate in sport and we advice teachers that, should that happen, they should forward those letters to their union to act accordingly.”

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