The Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) has confirmed the intention to employ interns to help in schools. MoBE public relations officer Lebogang Nyadza told The Monitor that they are looking to place interns but refuted that they would be replacing teachers.
“Yes, it is true that interns will be employed to support remediation in classes and other duties.
“They will only compliment existing teachers and temporary teachers and not replace any. It is possible that upwards of 5,000 interns may be absorbed depending on their places of abode, qualification, needs in schools and their availability,” she said.
Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) publicity secretary, Edwin Maitshoko said they were aware of the development, but they have not been informed formally.
Maitshoko said they were disappointed that while the ministry has been involving them in a number of issues, they failed to consult on the issue of interns.
“There are vacancies for teachers in schools which should be filled by permanent teachers. Also class sizes are too large and there is need to build more classrooms and hire teachers,” he said.
On another issue where teachers are expected to only conduct sporting activities during working hours, Nyadza said it is due to lack of funds for overtime.
BOSETU has since complained about this and called on their members to boycott the activities unless they are paid overtime just like all other
“Currently, the MoBE does not have funds to support the inter-schools competitions and as such the school sports associations have proposed to support these competitions with an allowance for sports coaches attending the events.
The Associations are keen to identify top talent in the country for future international events and thus have stood up to support these inter-school competition,” she said.
On both complaints by the unions that teachers were being exploited and they were not engaged, Nyadza said sports associations will engage the coaches and it is a free choice for teachers to do the work. She said the associations could initiate any engagement with the teacher unions.
Nyadza cautioned against the boycott by teachers. ”We believe that all children should be playing some sports and competed with each other.
It is important that children are not denied this opportunity to enjoy themselves as it does not cost anything for sports to be played in schools during the normal working week,” she said.