The Secretary General of the University of Botswana Academic Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSU), Dithapelo Keorapetse, is concerned with the mass exodus of lecturers at the country’s highest institution of learning.
Keorapetse raised his concerns at the commemoration of Workers Day in Francistown where he called on the government to urgently address the situation.
Addressing hordes of union members at the Francistown Stadium, he warned that if government failed to act speedily, students at the already troubled institution will suffer as they will be left with no lecturers.
He revealed that the institution is losing high quality lecturers who are leaving for greener pastures.
Keorapetse said that the most affected departments included departments such as the faculty of law, medicine and architecture, among others.
“The university cannot attract or retain these staff members due to unattractive salaries and poor working conditions,” he lamented.
Keorapetse gave, as an example, of the law department saying that the faculty currently depended on junior lecturers who lack the requisite teaching experience.
He also pointed an accusing finger at the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, saying she rarely engaged in dialogue with students to try and resolve issues and iron out differences.
He instead observed that the minister preferred to hold talks secretly with UB Management behind closed doors.
┬á“It is high time that the minister engages the students to hear their grievances first hand rather than only communicating with the management. The former president, Festus Mogae, the late George Kgoroba and Jacob Nkate were all open to students because of such cordial engagements,” said the unionist.