… Will now meet teacher unions’ leaders
The Minister of Education and Skills Development Dr Unity Dow has bowed to pressure from Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Sectors of Education Trade Union (BOSETU) and has now invited them for a consultative meeting.
The invitation comes when the leadership of the two teacher unions is on a roadshow to canvass members support to boycott the 2015 examination invigilation and marking of course work.
BTU President Johannes Tshukudu has recently warned that if Minister Dow continues to snub them and disregard their grievances they will resort to the 2011 examination crisis when teachers refused to mark examinations.
BTU and BOSETU were incensed by the directive informing teachers that they will not be paid for invigilating examinations and course work. Though the paying of the invigilation of examinations and coursework was supposed to be done by Botswana Examination Council (BEC) as per the Phumaphi ruling of 2010, MOESD took the decision to pay them.
Early this month the two teacher unions’ leaders walked out of the meeting protesting the absence of Minister Dow who was initially supposed to attend the meeting but didn’t turn up, citing tight schedule. The unions felt that the Minister was not taking their issues seriously and went back to their members to consult them on the way forward.
Another issue that irked the teachers was the statement by the Education Permanent Secretary, Richard Matlhare, when he informed them that they cannot directly see the minister but have to go through him.
In the past unions leadership used to directly approach the then Minister of Education Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi.
Realising that the 2011 examination mess is about the repeat itself, on the 21st of August 2015, Matlhare wrote a letter to the two teacher unions requesting them to meet with Minister Dow on the 3rd September.
“The honorable Minister will meet your delegation on Thursday 3 September 2015 at 1430 at a venue to be communicated to you soon,” reads part of the letter to the Presidents of BTU and BOSETU.
Matlhare further revealed in the letter that the purpose of the meeting is to have discussion on matters that were part of the agenda of the meeting that was earlier on intended but aborted and any other burning issues.
BTU Secretary General Ibo Kenosi confirmed that they have received the letter but they are surprised that the agenda has not been clearly stated. He said that the meeting is the last thing on their minds as currently they are consulting their members on what to do regarding the treatment by the MOESD.
The militant BTU chief scribe said that it seems the current leadership at MOESD has disregard for teachers and their welfare. Asked if they will attend the meeting, Kenosi answered in the affirmative.
Some of the issues that are expected to be discussed are fees to be paid to teachers for supervising and marking coursework and the fees for invigilation of the upcoming end of year BEC examinations for Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), Junior Certificate (JC) and Botswana General Certificate for Secondary Education (BGSCE).