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Unions demand safer classrooms

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Mogomotsi Motshegwa
Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU)is on a warpath and their patience beyond boiling point regarding teachers’ safety at schools.

This is in light of recent attacks on teachers, and BOSETU said it was concerned about the safety of its members in the classrooms. BOSETU wants the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) to take immediate action to ensure a safer working environment for teachers.

Reading the riot act to the ministry, BOSETU said MoBE should impose strict disciplinary measures against errant students.

BOSETU’s concerns came after students assaulted a teacher at Moshupa Senior Secondary School last week.“This is not the first incident to happen in schools. As BOSETU we are worried about this. Our duty as teachers is to impart knowledge to students and also to lash a student lawfully if he or she has done something wrong,” the Union charged.

“Our investigation as BOSETU has shown that some of these students have track records of indiscipline, either from school or (with the) police.

Therefore, the ministry must carry out investigations to find the root cause of these problems and also to try to create conducive environment for both teachers and learners.

If

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action is not taken by the ministry, we will have no choice but to withdraw our labour as teachers until classrooms are safe,” BOSETU vice president, Mogomotsi Motshegwa said on Saturday. 

Motshegwa said there was need to look at the conditions of service for teachers.  He said the government was aware of some students being  drug addicts.

Government, he added, was also aware that other students had troublesome upbringings, and therefore needed help. “The reason we declared last Friday a ‘Black Friday’ was for us to show our unhappiness to the ministry.

If the situation does not change, we will be forced to petition the ministry before the last resort, which is withdrawal of our labour,” Motshegwa said.  He complained that delinquent students were only suspended for 20 days before returning to class.  Motshegwa said the teachers were expected to continue with their duties as if “everything was normal”.

In his view, suspensions did not serve a purpose as some of the perpetrator students would actually boast about the punishment.



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