Sunday, April 18, 2021

Teachers’ union clashes with schools’ sports association

The Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) has clashed with the Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) for defying the union’s resolution on extracurricular activities in schools.

“BOPSSA has gone to schools without our consent, instructing teachers to start sports, violating union’s agreement with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD),” said Modise Maeletso, the BTU Publicity Secretary.

Maeletso said in addition to BOPSSA’s actions, they have learnt that the Ministry of Education issued an order to schools to resume activities, such as sports, by allocating such activities an hour from the 8 hours working period per day.

“We have embarked on a nationwide operation stopping all schools that had started extracurricular activities,” he said. Maeletso revealed that BTU is currently in the process of suspending all the officers holding BTU and BOPPSA positions.

Last week, BTU suspended its National Executive Committee (NEC) member and sports convener, Ohilwe Fani, for challenging the union’s resolution on extra-curricular activities in schools.
Fani was accused of using information obtained in closed NEC meetings to lobby teachers to resume sporting activities, which came to a stop in 2010.

“We advise teachers to remain resolute and not commit themselves by volunteering their services to do extra – curricular activities,” said Maeletso.

Teachers unions recently met with the MoESD to come up with means of reinstating extra-curricular activities.

The participating unions in the discussions over extracurricular activities are the Botswana Teachers Union, the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Primary Teachers Union (BOPRITU).

Unions differed with the ministry’s proposal that the activities be fitted in the eight hour working day. They argued that the time would not be adequate as it already came short of covering the academic content.

Moreover, they suggested that MoESD attends to issues of human resource capacity in schools, logistical challenges, and transport for both students and teachers during school competitions as well as overtime compensation.

“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.

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