With no report to speak of, the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) is worried that when schools open today, teacher unions would have yet to be given assessment outcomes on the pupils’ learning environment.
In the midst of a delayed wintry reopening of schools due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, BOSETU’s complaint is that they have long requested the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) to produce a report on schools’ readiness, but the union has been sent from pillar to post.
“Our position as teachers unions is clear, if all schools have adhered to Health required standards then schools may open. But from the information we are getting on the ground, there are those schools that have met the required standards and those which did not for different reasons known by the ministry,” BOSETU vice president, Mogomotsi Motshegwa told The Monitor.
“What is important is for all stakeholders to meet and find ways for all schools that are still behind to meet standards very quickly. This is not the time to blame each other, but to become transparent on issues so that we map the way forward on matters. I believe the government is working around the clock to ensure that additional teachers do report to schools this week.”
Minister of Basic Education, Fidelis Molao said all schools are ready to welcome students.
“We have been ready to have students returning to schools with all measures in place. It is not easy, but we are doing our best and will continue monitoring the situation, Molao said.
The minister would not however be dragged into discussing the report for preparedness insisting that schools have long been ready to welcome students.
He further said they were on track to have pre-primary students return to school in early August.
Chief education officer for Jwaneng/Mabutsane, Abram Molelowamodimo said their schools
“Schools will have a double shift so there will be no congestion in classrooms. There will be two groups; one goes in the morning till 12.30pm then another one commences from 12.30pm till 4.30pm,” Molelowamodimo explained.
“Teachers and school management have agreed so that we address the issues of classroom shortages. Again our additional or temporary teachers have received their letters of employment while some will receive them this week.”
He said this week students would be on orientation on changes that have taken place in schools and how they are expected to behave.
Acting director for Kweneng region, Tshwarelo Hosia said, “We are beginning phase two on an optimistic note, armed with valuable lessons from phase one. We do not anticipate any serious hiccups. Schools are embarking on double shifting to ease pressure on classes and to ensure quality delivery of the curriculum. Overall we have done enough to ensure the safety of our students. Of course it would be unrealistic to expect a seamless transition to the new normal. This is an uncharted territory and adjusting to the new normal cannot be an event but an ongoing process.”
He said presently, Kweneng region is preoccupied with expanding boarding facilities at Matsheng and Lempu junior secondary schools, a project scheduled for completion within a period of two weeks.
“This for us would a major breakthrough,” he added.
He said they have refurbished old hostels at Lempu and Mahupu unified secondary school and now they are pre-occupied with building additional boarding hostels to respond to the need for social distancing.
The acting director added additional beds have been supplied to the boarding schools.