The unions' president, Shandukani Hlabano said during Teachers' Day celebrations that they have been waiting for more than a decade for the government to transform the colleges.He added that technical colleges and brigades suffer arguably the worst form of neglect. "They have no clear quality curriculum yet they are critical institutions that can provide the much needed technical skills in the country," he said. He regretted that Botswana is neglecting the institutions, yet many countries have used them to transform their economies. He said an investment in the capacity of teachers to ensure professional competency is very important. He added that teachers need to work in a context based on trust because they are engaged as professionals who know their job.
He said the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) is undergoing significant transformation that needs a high level of dexterity in decision-making. Such transformation involves the dissolution of Tertiary Education Council (TEC) and Botswana Training Authority (BOTA).
Hlabano said that previous functions of these institutions will be rationalised and shared by Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) and Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA).He said the establishment of BQA means that Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) should also be transformed to include a broader national mandate on moderation and assessment of examinations. "We however applaud the fact that all matters relating to assessment and examination in the country will be the mandate of BEC," he said.
However, he cautioned that while these are positive developments in the education system, it has been evident that very little or nothing has been done with the same level of commitment to address curriculum issues. "Both HRDC and BQA are post event structures that cannot improve education. The starting point should be quality curriculum development and quality teaching," he said.Meanwhile Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Patrick Masimolole has appreciated the valuable contribution that teachers plays in diversifying the country's economy. He said teachers are human resource developers of any economy. He applauded the role played by his ministry and teacher trade unions in the meaningful social dialogue that led to the approval of levels of operations.
"This is a costly project which demonstrates government's commitment towards recognising teachers' role in moving the development agenda of the country," he said. Levels of operation implementation allow teachers within the C band to progress up to C1 scale through multi-title positions. It provides for the de-linking of the positions of head of department and deputy school head to demonstrate differing levels of responsibility and accountability. "This has had a push-up effect on the positions of the school heads with primary schools being headed at D2 salary scale while secondary schools are headed at D1 effective July 1," he said.