Friday, July 1, 2022

Venson Moitoi attacks media for fuelling animosity between unions and gov’t

The Minister of Education and Skills Development, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has attacked the media for creating animosity between the unions and her Ministry by blowing issues out of proportion.

Giving a keynote address during the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) Congress, which was held in Francistown last week, the Minister said that it has become a habit for media practitioners to create news or blow issues out of proportion only to create tension between her ministry and the unions.

“The mandate of the media is to educate, inform and promote democracy in the country. However, some media practitioners have a bad habit of blowing issues out of proportion by writing and reporting issues that are not true,” she said.

The Minister also raised concern over poor communication between her Ministry and the unions, saying that the challenge is retarding the whole objective of collective bargaining. She further shifted blame to some Members of Parliament for failing to communicate with the unions on issues she raises in parliament with regard to the welfare of unions.

“It is disappointing to note that some of your political representatives in parliament do not communicate to you on issues that I address in parliament pertaining to your welfare. They are your political representatives and they should communicate with you,” she said.

Venson-Moitoi further expressed worry over some members of the union for raising issues through the media rather than confronting her with their grievances.

Among other issues, the Minister said that her Ministry is aware of the numerous challenges faced by teachers such as shortage of accommodation, shortage of teaching material, infrastructure and teachers’ welfare and hours of work. She said that the ministry is committed to working in collaboration with all stakeholders, including BTU to ensure that these challenges are given the immediate attention they deserve.

“In an effort to try and address some of the challenges, such as accommodation issues, my ministry has purchased houses for teachers,” she said.

She, however, added that the housing initiative is inclined to benefit only those in major centres where houses can be bought from the Botswana Housing Corporation. The Minister also said that her ministry is exploring other ideas, such as acquiring land and houses to complement the house purchasing initiative.
 
“I would also like to request those of you with resources to consider venturing into property development,” the Minster said.
The minister stated that her Ministry is doing everything possible to make sure that infrastructure, such as teacher’s houses, classrooms, hostels, kitchens and administration blocks are renovated to keep them in good condition.

She said that such a move will help create a conducive learning environment in schools.

The BTU Congress was held under the theme: “Building the future through quality education by quality educators: a must call for decent working conditions.”

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