Friday, December 3, 2021

Teachers and examinations body enter truce

Teacher Unions, Botswana Sectors of Education Trade Union (BOSETU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) have resolved their standoff to allow for the smooth running of this year’s final examinations.

The talks between the parties had previously collapsed after failing to agree on the rates of the 2021/2022 cycle of coursework and moderation.

The stalemate prompted the unions to appeal to teachers to suspend the submission of coursework marks and participation in internal and external moderation.

BTU President Gotlamang Oitsile indicated that a decision between two parties on the new rates was agreed on Friday, adding that they have now given the teachers a green light to continue with their duties.

Oitsile stated that an agreement between unions and BEC was agreed, stating that the unions have already signed a memorandum of understanding.

“I am happy to tell you today that we have reached an agreement with BEC after those hide and seek games because they were not willing to come to the table but finally we have concluded the matter in terms of rates. We have also told our teachers to continue with coursework and moderations following the agreement,” said Oitsile.

He further said the unions will reveal the rates to the public once all the paperwork has been concluded.

“At least we have agreed. There is nothing to draw us back, all the parties involved will be meeting to finish up the paperwork,” added Oitsile.

He said over the years trade unions have been holding discussions with the Ministry of Basic education but this time around it was handed over to BEC without any consultations.

He stated that teachers reserve the privilege of withdrawing from carrying out the duties of BEC as the court long decided that it is not part of their contractual job description.

“We had no pressure in the lead up to the discussions because the court long indicated that moderation of examinations are not a contractual obligation for teachers. So, you can understand in this case when we say BEC was the one with pressure to conclude the matter,” added Oitsile.

For her part, Botswana Examinations Council Public Relations Officer Fingile Makgalemele dismissed any standoff between unions and BEC, adding that the Ministry of Basic Education long concluded their talks with unions.

Makgalemele said they do not expect to experience any challenges when standard 7 pupils start sitting for examinations from Wednesday this week.

She further said form 3’s will start their examinations on the 1st of November while form 5s have already started their examinations.

“We are more than ready for the examinations. Nothing has changed. Teachers are the ones invigilating and we are hoping for everything to run smoothly because this time around we started earlier compared to last year,” said Makgalemele.

She indicated that 37 744 pupils will sit for their form 5 examinations, 46 715 will sit for the form 3 examinations while 47 163 will sit for their standard 7 examinations.

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