Mmegi Online :: Sour relations lead to exams boycott
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Last Updated
Thursday 20 July 2017, 17:11 pm.
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Sour relations lead to exams boycott

An examinations fiasco ensued at Mphutlhe Junior Secondary School in Letlhakeng recently where teachers militantly protested what they termed bad leadership.
By Baboki Kayawe Wed 29 Mar 2017, 15:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Sour relations lead to exams boycott








Teachers at the school who declined to be named for fear of victimisation, accused school head, Lazarus Gadienewe of “managing the institution as he pleased”, making autonomous decisions and calling the environment “devoid of good governance”. As a result, relations between management and teachers have soured.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was a questionnaire administered to students on Monday seeking to establish how teachers treat them.  “We were not consulted when the study was designed, neither did we know about its administration. We only learnt about it during a Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) meeting last week where the school head presented findings at that meeting,” one teacher said. Another teacher said, “Parents were told how bad we are towards their children, that we are always shouting at them, hurling insults at learners and even insulting their parents.

None of that is true”. They allege that relations between teachers, learners and parents have been soiled following the questionnaire and announcement of findings. “Parents are threatening to beat us if we go out in the village, we have been receiving such threats through text messages because some parents do have our mobile contact details,” the concerned teacher continued.

This then led to teachers boycotting the end of term exams on Thursday. The Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU) shop steward at the school confirmed that teachers boycotted exams. However, he referred Mmegi to their publicity officer, Tupane Zweli. 

“I can confirm that we got that information from our shop steward in Letlhakeng. There have been concerns of poor governance and leadership at the said school, and the teaching staff is

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worried at the ways things are done,” he said. He added that the Union also learned that teachers boycotted classes as a result.

BTU has thus far sent its Industrial Relations officer, Dintle Moring to examine the matter. “He is yet to present an official report on what he found out,” Zweli said.  Kweneng regional director, Benson Rauwe confirmed the incident, but refuted that exams were boycotted. “We are aware of this, but I would like to state that conducting this kind of mini-research is nothing new as it is contained in the Pastoral Policy. It is a way to give feedback,” said Rauwe.

However, he said teachers must be included in the whole process as opposed to learning about the results at a meeting where external stakeholders are present. “They should work as a team. We advised the school that they must collaborate, teachers ought to have been told about the study findings first before they were presented at the PTA meeting. It must have been an internal issue first,” he added.

On the issue of leadership, Rauwe said they advised teamwork since leadership is about following, hence the need for good communication. He said the sub-region has been tasked with dealing with the issue for now, but the regional office will soon go back to engage in thorough talks with teachers, heads of departments and the school head to ensure team spirit.   

Contacted for comment, Gadinewe said, “I am not allowed to talk to the private media, please contact the director. I won’t comment on the issue. The regional director is better placed to do so.”

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