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Teacher Unions, Education Ministry To Discuss Schools Closure

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Basic Education Minister, Fidelis Molao PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Botswana schools continue to record a growing number of the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases which has compelled teacher unions to motivate for a shutdown.

The unions believe that the issue is not getting the attention it deserves and is not being addressed as quickly as it should be.

Information reaching The Monitor indicates the Ministry of Basic Education, the Presidential Task Team and teachers unions will meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter. The meeting was supposed to have been held last Monday to come up with strategies or to opt to close schools for 14 days to attempt to address the spread of the virus.

“Goodhope Senior Secondary School has a staggering number of 221 cases, Gowa JSS in Ngabao recorded 190 cases while Mphuthe JSS in Letlhakeng recorded 167 cases. This signifies a crisis. These high cases in schools compared to any other industries or institutions is easy to explain; schools are the most vulnerable institutions in that they are the only institutions housing such large number of people at a go. The possibility of the virus being transmitted between people is very high. Schools also hold within them mostly the young and difficult to control group hence the high vulnerability of schools,” Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) secretary-general, Tobokani Rari said on

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Friday.

He added it is on the stated premise of the susceptibility and vulnerability of schools that they feel strongly as BOSETU that members working in those institutions are terribly exposed to COVID-19.

He said schools have remained utterly unsafe for teachers to work at. He said for that reason BOSETU calls upon the ministries responsible for education where their members work to close the institutions to give the National COVID-19 Task Force a chance to try and arrest the situation of the variant and the surge.

They believe this period would as well allow the education ministries to close the preventative protocol lapses in institutions that put various cohorts at risk. “As a union, we are apprehensive of the deliberate sidestepping of procedures by the Department of Public Health where teachers waiting for results are forced to go to work and they are as well forced to go to a work environment where positive cases have been found without such environments being fumigated.

This shows sheer incompetence on the part of the department. The director should prevail to correct this negligence otherwise this would indicate a failure on their part,” he said.



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