Ministers of education have their job cut out after teachers resolved at the Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU) recently that the incoming leadership should rally teachers to work strictly for a duration of eight hours in a day in line with the statutes regulating their hours of work. The resolution was taken primarily because the matter has been outstanding with the employer for over six years. The incoming leadership of Wiston Radikolo has also been mandated by congress to engage the powers that be and carry out intensive lobbying and advocacy on the matter. Tobokani Rari, who has been retained unopposed as Secretary General, says the new leadership has hit the ground running with the formation of subcommittees to implement specific mandates and resolutions of the union. "There are many issues in the teaching profession that we need to address with the employer, which have been pending for a long time. We remain hopeful that we will reach an amicable solution to these issues in the new dispensation," said Rari.
Congress resolved that the leadership should inculcate into members that in the case of teachers being engaged in overtime activities, they (teachers) should work strictly for those hours that they would have agreed with the supervisor and would be compensated for, and avoid sacrificing or working any extra hours that they would not be compensated for.
Levels of Operation
The incoming leadership has also been mandated to continue to pursue all grey areas, oversights, and omissions occasioned by the implementation of the abolition of levels of operation by among others engaging the employer, and even litigating where such is possible.
Scarce Skill allowances
In view the fact that a significant number of the teaching cadres have been unduly and unfairly left out of the scarce skill allowance, even if their counter parts elsewhere with the same status and qualifications enjoy same, congress mandated the incoming leadership to engage the employer on same with a view to litigate where such is possible.
Class Size: Student – Teacher Ratio
Congress mandated the in – coming leadership to intensify lobbying, advocacy and engagement of the Ministry of Basic Ministry of Education to adopt the recommendations of the Revised National Policy on Education otherwise known as the Kedikilwe Commission on Class Sizes.
Promotion procedure for teachers
Congress, having noted the stagnation of teachers in terms of progression due to the fact that they are many, resolved to mandate the incoming leadership to engage the employer to implement a parallel progression system for teachers.
Delinking of individual subjects’ supervision
Having noted the narrow progression path of teachers and progression bottles due the few promotional posts in the teaching profession, congress attributed part of this problem to the clustering of subjects under one (1) senior teacher at Primary and Junior Secondary Schools and as consequence, mandated the in - coming leadership pursue the issue of de – linking individual supervision at Primary and Junior Secondary Schools.
Specialisation at Primary Schools
Congress noted one of the major factors that debilitates against quality teaching and learning, which as well increases the work load for teachers at Primary Schools, as the absence of specialization by teachers at that level, and as consequence, resolved that the leadership should engage the Ministry of Basic Education on a policy reform that would introduce specialization at Primary Schools.
Classroom responsibilities of Heads of Departments & Deputies
Congress having noted having noted that there is a standing policy that Heads of Departments and Deputy School Heads at Junior and senior secondary Schools do not have classroom teaching responsibilities, congress mandated the in coming leadership to pursue this matter with the Ministry of Basic Education to have same applying to Heads of Departments and Deputy School Heads at Primary Schools.
Dual Administration of Primary Education
Having discussed and noted the administrative lapses and difficulties associated with the issue of having Primary Education being administered by both the Ministry of Basic Education and that of Local Government, congress resolved to mandate the in – coming leadership to engage government to have a single administration of primary education and have it administered by the Ministry of Basic Education.
Conditions of service for teachers
In view of the unattractive and the ever deteriorating conditions of service for teachers, Congress resolved to mandate the in – coming leadership to engage the employer, and or its urgent, to review the general conditions of service for teachers with view to review among others the 1994 scheme of service for teachers.
After scrutinising a number of proposals for amendment of different clauses of the BOSETU constitution by regions, Congress concluded that it mandates the incoming leadership to institute a holistic constitutional review process following a thorough consultation with union. Following the low turn-out in showing interest for standing for elections for regional (Regions & branches) structures within the duration of the writ issued by the Elections Office as per the relevant BOSETU constitutional provisions, Congress resolved to mandate the elections office to issue a fresh writ of elections for the regional structures that would last for 30 days from the date of its issuance. Congress noted that the consequences of its decision would mean that the life span of the lower structures would further extended by at least two months. In view of the need for the union to have policy positions on national educational and labour matters, congress resolved that the incoming leadership should prepare a policy conference within a year and turn the 2018 Annual Conference into policy conference. Congress resolved to mandate the incoming BOSETU leadership to continue to engage with the other sister teacher unions, and teacher staff associations in an endeavour to ultimately merge the union with those teacher unions and teacher staff associations. Congress resolved that the incoming leadership should intensify, channel efforts and resources towards mobilising and organising support staff in education institutions and educators in the private sector.