The proposed teaching council is long overdue, teaching organisations have said. This comes after the assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake, announced that his ministry is considering establishing a teaching council.
Speaking to Mmegi yesterday, the president of the Botswana Primary Teachers' Association, Sam Malete, said that these were part of the latest reforms at the ministry and are a move in the right direction. He said that as teachers they want to be the most respected, to be the 'cream' of civil service and be role models to their students. Malete said that they want children to aspire to follow a career in teaching.
The council, he said, would aid in behaviour modification, curb sexual relations between teachers and students and abuse of students.
He reminisced about the era when teachers were known as 'teachers no mistake.' Malete said then teachers were most respected and learned, noting that many leaders came from the teaching fraternity and added that some teachers' indiscipline has been treated with 'kid gloves'.
"This is a good development. With the regulations clear, many will now know that they are entering the profession at their own risk," he said. According to a report by the Daily News, the teaching council is expected to act as a regulatory body and monitor entry into the profession and the conduct of teachers in their duties. Mokalake noted that the council would help stamp out unprofessional conduct that has been dogging
The president of the Botswana Teachers' Union (BTU), Japhta Radibe, said that the union proposed the idea of the teaching council some 15 years ago. He added that the late general secretary, Cornelius Tau, tabled it, but, at the time, the idea was set aside.
He reiterated Malete's words that it was long overdue. "We are happy with it," he said. "It will build the teachers' characters."
The Botswana Secondary Teachers' Union (BOSETU) executive secretary, Justin Hunyepa, said that many countries have a teaching council.
He said the council would work like others in non-teaching professions, such as the nursing council and Law Society of Botswana that can strike off their members if misconduct is committed.
"Teaching will be taken seriously," he said. Citing that there are no temporal doctors and nurses, Hunyepa said that government would not engage temporary teachers because not everyone can teach.
The teaching council, he said, would curb unprofessional behaviour and would improve and raise the status of teachers. As it is, he said, teachers are made to travel in trucks, made to sleep in classrooms and are not given allowances.