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BTU Celebrates 80 Years

Moiseraele Goya
PALAPYE: The Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) over the weekend celebrated 80 years of existence here at Kediretswe Primary School.

The event was thronged by multitudes of teachers and retired teachers. Foreign Affairs Minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, the area Member of Parliament and assistant Minister of Basic Education, Moiseraele Goya and BTU founding father, Japhta Radibe also graced the celebration held under the theme, ‘BTU in celebration of 80 years of achievement, challenges and vision beyond 100 years of Labour Advocacy and protection’.

In her keynote address, Venson-Moitoi, who is also the former Minister of Education, said that as the teachers celebrate, it is also important to reflect and introspect on the legacy left by those who came before them. She encouraged the teachers to never give up on the journey forged by their fore fathers in making sure that the nation releases esteemed professionals.

Venson-Moitoi added that as a former Minister of Education, she understands the daily struggles of a teacher. However, this should not discourage them from continuing to deliver their services selflessly.

“I have been through this journey with teachers before. That is, from the time when you used to use your own money to buy some of the resources needed in schools as the government fell short in delivering them.

This showed that indeed you are the most important people who would rather deprive their own biological children necessary needs in order to cater for the nation at large. This alone ought to be applauded and celebrated,” she said.

She also urged the union members to desist from associating the union with politicians, saying they are opportunists who ruin trade unions. She further applauded government’s efforts in improving teaching profession, saying that although it is not enough results are notable.  She cited the building of teachers’ quarters to address accommodation shortages, upskilling of primary teachers as well as the review of their salaries.

The president of BTU, Johannes Tshukudu also shared same sentiments as the minister that the celebration is for the founding fathers of the union and what they fought for to ensure that teachers are given the recognision they deserve.

He said that 80 years of existence is a result of

the legacy left behing by the teachers who came before them, moreover to introspect their vision in moving forward and making the union a success.

He said that they have exprienced their fair share of challenges such as losing some of the members who went on to start new unions.

“Some of us here will be bought to leave the movement and I say to you comrades, do not be discouraged when such things happen. Instead, remember the struggles we fought in order to be where we are. Eighty years is not a game, and I can asure you that the movement shall continue for 80 more years to come.

“It is not an easy road, but if we are united and share the same vision, we shall overcome for we have come far to give up now,” he said. He further said those 80 years of existence when translated to human age transform into an elderly sage with oodles of wisdom and as intelligence to drive people in the right direction.

Therefore, as the union it means that they share the same aspirations and wisdom like wise elderly persons.

Tshukudu also shared challenges faced by teachers, saying that the government fails the teachers even though they are the significant contributors of the nation’s wealth.

He said some of the challenges they long requested the government to look into are the review of the language policy, where they advocated for the use of various indigenous languages in schools to suit each child, hence improve the quality of education. He also said they wanted to be included as part of the academic curiculum review which he said at the moment they have limited access over it.

Tshukudu further observed that the hiring of expartriates to come and do the job that locals can do also contributes to the failures of the government in caring for its nation.

MP Goya said he will take on board the complaints raised by the president, but noted that the government does recognise and appreciate teachers for their massive contributions.




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