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BOSETU Conference Puts The Pupil First

MONKAGEDI GAOTHOBOGWE
Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) is moving away from the traditional labour issues for their 2016 Annual Conference billed for Adonsonia,

Francistown from August 18-21, where the pupil’s education will be the main focus.

This year’s theme, “More Time for Every Student; Changing the future of each Learner”, is a learner centred theme. It focuses directly on the welfare of the student. “ It has to be noted that all our past themes have been focusing mainly either on the issues of bargaining and trade unionism or on issues of bread and butter for teachers. Our view is that there is dire need, and that time is now, for the union to take centre stage to project and propel issues that affects the learner, that affects teaching and learning in schools, hence having dire consequences on the education system of this country”, enthuses, BOSETU  Secretary General Tobokani Rari ahead of the conference.

“ Our consistent view has always been that insufficient contact time between the learner and the teacher, as a result of a myriad of reasons, is central to the ever-dwindling national examination results hence the reason why we decided to dedicate this year’s conference to focus on this particular issue”.

According to BOSETU, the revised Public Service Act of 2008 that lumped the teachers with the rest of the public service has partly contributed to the declining pass rate as the teacher spends less time with the learner; “Our view is that the theme will put into focus how the unresolved issue of the hours of work for teachers disadvantages the student in terms of limited contact time between the teacher and the student. How the current eight hours working duration per day that governs teachers currently has dramatically reduced the contact time with students, hence the continuously dropping results”.

According to Rari, It is their fervent view that the theme of the conference

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will also bring into the fore the issue of class size in schools today. “With the current situation where classes are simmering at their tops, the issue of affording a child abundant time for assistance becomes just a mirage. This will assist us as a trade union, the invited stakeholders and the general public to ponder on these critical matters and put them on centre stage to trigger public discourse on them”.

The theme will also avail an opportunity for the attendants, critical stakeholders and the public to zero in on the issue of the hotly debated “non - teaching duties”.  “ It will enable us to ponder on what really constitutes the duty of a teacher. It will avail an opportunity for us as a union to demonstrate to the public that most of the teachers’ time is spent on duties that are not part of teaching hence depriving the child of quality teaching time resulting in the poor results.

Issues of the ever-increasing administrative, clerical and secretarial duties will be brought into perspective during the discussion of the theme. This includes such activities as recording of marks in computers, scheme books, etc.” 

The issue of sporting activities carried out during teaching times will also be out in focus. “Of recent, in an endeavour to avoid paying overtime, regions and schools have resorted to scheduling sporting activities during working hours hence eating into the quality teaching time”, noted Rari.

The Minister of Education Unity Dow will officially open of the conference while the Vice President of Education International World Governing Body responsible for Africa, Mugwena Maluleke, will give a keynote address. Professor Nkobi Owen Pansiri, Head of Primary Education at the University of Botswana will present a theme paper at the conference.



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