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Gov’t owes teachers P32m

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Talent Identification: Teachers, who are key to development, are owed for their services
Teachers who officiated in ball games last year will have to wait longer to receive their allowances as the Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE) says it has no money to pay them.

Responding to a question in Parliament this week, MOBE assistant minister, Nnaniki Makwinja said her ministry is yet to assist Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA) with subventions to cover both sport activities held in July 2019, which amount to P32,154,671.

Makwinja explained that the associations have paid teachers who participated in athletics.

“Our ministry expects to have paid the subventions to the associations before the end of July, so that teachers can be paid. Funding constraints causes the delay. It is possible that some teachers may choose not to participate in sport this year,” she said.

However, Makwinja said many teachers were dedicated, passionate and trained sport coaches who would continue to support sport in schools unconditionally.  She said there have been a large increase in sport disciplines and the associated costs of overtime and logistics.

“Overtime is negotiated and giving time off is an option to reduce the financial burden. Teachers are required to adhere to schools timetables which require them to be in schools from Monday to Friday and they cannot just take day off in lieu of overtimes where funding is not available,” Makwinja told Parliament. She was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Ngami, Carter Hikuama. Hikuama had asked if the ministry was aware that some teachers who were engaged in sporting activities in March 2019 for athletics and ball sport in July 2019 under the agreement that they would be paid an allowance of P500 per

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day and have not been paid.

The MP was not impressed with the minister’s response. “It was a clueless answer from a clueless minister who is clueless on the value of sports to school academic performance and general growth of the child,” he told Mmegi Sport.

He said teachers now feel government deliberately owes them as they are considered to be understanding and passionate. He said the issue would further increase behavioural problems at schools.

Meanwhile, BISA spokesperson, Letsweletse Jonas told Mmegi Sport yesterday that they were in the dark about the future of school sport. He said proposals have been submitted and they are awaiting approval by Cabinet.

“The issue of funding remains a challenge. BISA president is the one who attended the meeting with MOBE minister (Fidelis Molao) last week and he is the one who can share the details of the meeting. Currently, he is out of the country,” he said.

BOPSSA president, Busani Segweni said the meeting with the minister was just a meet and greet session. He said as a new minister, he had to meet stakeholders in his ministry.

“He wanted to learn about our challenges that directors share with him so he had an opportunity to get first hand information from us,” he said.

Segweni said it was agreed that the ministry would send out a savingram stating first term activities. He said they had expected communication to have been released by now. Segweni said teachers could not do anything without instructions from the ministry.



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