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Principal technical officers feel hard done

Principal Technical Education Officers II (PTEOs) at the Department of Teacher Training and Technical Education under the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology are complaining that they are subjected to unfair treatment by their employer.

The PTEOs want to know why they were left out when organisational and methods and implementation of the levels of operation were implemented in their Ministry.

The officers says they tried to seek audience with both the permanent secretary at their ministry and the director, but nothing has been done in order to resolve the issue amicably and in a professional manner.

The department has two units or sections dealing with the core mandate, which is the Quality Assurance and Assessment unit (QAA) and Programme Development and Delivery (PDD).

The PDD is mandated to develop diploma programmes and monitor their implementation while QAA is mandated to develop assessments/examination, quality assured programmes through validation and certify the same programmes. This mandate includes development of policies and procedural guidelines as well as monitoring resource provision for effective implementation of programmes through systems verification process (Systems audits).

“When organisational and methods and levels of operation were introduced and implemented a few years ago, as PTEO II’s we were left in the cold for no apparent reasons.  Our request to be provided with reasons why implementers of programmes at institutions could be rewarded better than developers of programmes and assessments fell on deaf ears.

“This, to our knowledge has never happened anywhere in the world before. It only happens in this country where a driver of a vehicle can be rewarded better than the maker of that vehicle. This perhaps explains why education in this country continues to be on a downward slope,” a source said.

The source said developed countries acknowledge and recognise that development of curriculum and assessment need knowledge, skill and experience and retention of such knowledge, skill and experience is valued and used profitably. Unfortunately it is not true in the case of Botswana.

Another source said PTEOs used to be remunerated at the same level with deputy principals, now

the latter are paid more, and this arrangement makes it difficult for PTEOs to execute their mandate the way they used to hence the collapse of Quality Assurance systems and lack of adherence to set standards at institutions.

The source said this is despite the fact that PTEOs have all along been operating at the same level (D3) and transfers across these two units (QAA and PDD) were done easily whenever there was a need in another unit. 

“This mischievous act has created confusion in the organisational structure and has seriously demoralised the other group and also created tension and role clarity crisis which is likely to have devastating effects on Technical Education.

“It has also created a situation where transfers across units would not be easy-something that was working well for the benefit of the department. There is also a serious vacuum between employees and their leaders and no communication has ever been made as nobody sees it necessary to communicate,” the source said.

The issue was once taken to court by other 10 PTEOs through Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) and they won the matter before they were transferred while some being promoted.

In one of the letters written by former permanent secretary Theophilus Mooko it said: “I concur with your view that implementation of the court order MAHGB-00633-16 should have been effected from the 1 December 2006 being your date of first appointment as Principal Technical Education Officer (D3 salary scale).

“However the implementation was effected from the 1st July 2013 being the date of the implementation of the levels of operations. It is therefore acknowledged that an error occurred and we would like to apologise and assure yourself that the Ministry is in process of rectifying this”.

Repeated efforts to get comment from Ministry were unsuccessful.





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