Mmegi Online :: Gantsi teachers protest transfer policy
Last Updated
Friday 13 July 2018, 06:00 am.
Gantsi teachers protest transfer policy

At least 80 disgruntled Gantsi Senior Secondary School teachers have sought legal advice to challenge government’s transfer policy, which they say is not enforced and has led to them overstaying in the area.
By Baboki Kayawe Wed 18 Jan 2017, 15:23 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Gantsi teachers protest transfer policy

Increasingly combative correspondence has flown between the embittered teachers and education authorities since the beginning of last year.

The teachers recently requested legal opinion on the matter, according to a communiqué written on their behalf by the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU).

“As their legally recognised trade union, we duly instruct your law firm to assist the said teachers by providing them with a legal opinion and consequently act on their behalf as per your advice,” the letter to Gantsi based law firm, Thabo Malambani Attorneys reads.

In a compliant letter, the aggrieved teachers say more than 75 percent of the teaching staff at the school has gone beyond the stipulated five-year period teachers are supposed to stay in a school or region. 

The school, one of the country’s biggest, reportedly has 120 teachers.

The letter was addressed to Gantsi education regional director, copied to permanent secretary in the then Ministry of Education and Skills Development, teacher unions - BOSETU and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU).

The effect of overstaying, teachers said, was that some of them were becoming redundant, a state that could result in some of them being obsolete. 

“It is becoming evident that overstaying in semi-arid, remote and underdeveloped areas is slowly but surely brewing discontentment, disgruntlement among teachers,” the teachers stated.

The teachers queried why inter-regional and intra-regional transfers were taking place in other regions and wondered why this had not been extended to the Gantsi region. Of late, they said, a good number of teachers in other regions had transferred to Mahupu Unified Secondary School in Takatokwane Village, Tsabong Unified Secondary School as well as a new junior school in Maun, but none from Gantsi Senior were considered.

“All teachers who have shown interest in joining these schools have not been replied positively and the staff has been reliably informed that some of those schools have employed temporary teachers,” the letter reads.  They further say this state of affairs “is tantamount to outright denial of privileges” since the policy aroused legitimate expectation of frequent mobility across


regions.  The only transfers that happened are predominantly those on swapping basis, they added.

Responding to the letter, a Gantsi Regional Education official attributed the lack of transfers to the fact that an inter-regional board for the area was not sitting.

“It is true that though this policy is in place, it has been difficult to transfer teachers in accordance with the policy due to the fact that for a long time the inter-regional board has not been meeting,” the official, identified only as Dr M. Isaiah wrote.

He added that though regional transfers had been taking place within the region, it was not easy to transfer teachers from Gantsi Senior Secondary School to other schools because of ‘regionalisation’.

“Any transfer to another region was done by swapping or otherwise nothing was happening,” Isaiah wrote.

“The Teaching Service Management is planning an inter-regional transfer board and we hope some of you will be transferred, but that will be determined by the board.”

According to the Teaching Service Management’s (TSM) 2007 transfer guidelines, social and health related concerns from the teaching force have put excessive pressure on the employer to transfer teachers to areas where there are high quality medical facilities, especially Gaborone.

“The department receives on average 1,500 transfer requests annually to the South Central region alone. In view of the large number and lack of vacancies in the region, more than 50% of the requests have not been responded to either because the teacher made several applications in a year or there are no vacancies in this popular region,” the TSM stated.

In correspondence to deputy permanent secretary, Nnoseng Mohutsiwa, BOSETU secretary general, Tobokani Rari said the union was ready to take the matter through the courts.

“Please take note that the issues raised by the teachers are disputes of right that could be litigated, and as such we would like to hear from you on the way forward on matters raised, failing which we will issue a letter of demand enforcing our members’ rights,” Rari’s letter reads.

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