- Calls attention to conditios of service as a condition
- Describes relations with MOE, BEC as “sour at the moment”
If an agreement is not reached between Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), and issues of conditions of service are not resolved with the Ministry of Education (MoE), “the union will not participate in examinations,” the Secretary General of BTU, Agang Gabana, has said.
He was speaking at a press conference called by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) to share the successes and challenges faced by the union during its advocacy and protection of its members. Describing the relationship between BTU BEC and MoE as “soured at the moment”, Gabana charged that BEC does not recognise BTU because it does not recognise trade unions. “Up until conditions of service are fulfilled, the union cannot trust for its members to continue engaging with the ministry and BEC,” he said.
He noted that ssues troubling the teaching profession include increased workloads in secondary schools, progression in colleges of education and brigades, and levels of operation in the education sector. Also speaking at the press conference, the president of BTU, Gotlamang Otsile, stated that since its inception in the late 1930s, the union has used its advocacy skills and knowledge to bargain for its members across all levels in the education sector.
“Over the years, the union has worked very hard to address teachers’ welfare and conditions of service,” he said. “Looking back at where we come from since our inception and recognised as a trade union, we have an excellent story to tell regarding our contribution to developing policies and legislation formulation. Otsile noted that apart from its primary mandate, BTU has successfully ensured its members access to socio-economic programmes and services to improve their lives.
The union has negotiated for these programmes to be affordable to its members regardless of their positioning in the remuneration structure in accordance with its aim of obtaining members’ access to these facilities without eroding their earnings, he added. “That is why we have agreed with financial institutions offering loan facilities to our members to utilise only 60 percent of what a member earns,” Otsile said. “We have, over time, realised that the take-home stipulated is not doing justice to everyone who takes out a loan facility.
“Once again, we harnessed financial literacy for our members by establishing (a) wellness financial clinic. The clinic offers members ways to use their hard-earned cash effectively and provides guidance and counselling to those who want to take loans.” Other issues presented at the press conference included progress after BTU’s July 2022 Congress of Delegates, labour issues in education, corporal punishment, the union’s contribution to effective and productive education, and socio-economic programmes for members.