BEC, 18 FN Teachers Feud In Court

Eighteen Food and Nutrition (FN) teachers who have been tussling with the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) over submission of Botswana General Certificate of Education (BGCSE) marks for the subject’s practical examination say the exam’s body has no case against them. 

This comes after BEC made an application at the Lobatse High Court on urgency, for an order directing teachers to submit the marks to the council.

The 18 teachers from various schools in the country were engaged by the council to mark practical examinations for FN. But it is said that while they were about their work in Gaborone, a dispute arose between them and the BEC.

The dispute related to the tax that the teachers were being charged by Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) on account of the work they were doing.

It is said that BEC lumped together the fees that the Respondents earned for marking with Disbursements such as Accommodation and Transport. This resulted in BURS charging the Respondents higher tax, as disbursements are not taxable.

According to court papers seen by The Monitor, it is said that the teachers took the matter up with the Applicant. Requesting BEC to issue letters to BURS clarifying their earnings: Separating the disbursements from the Fees earned from marking.

However, it is said that BEC was not cooperating as it simply refused to assist the teachers.

The teachers then withheld some marks and requested for their issue to be attended to urgently. It is said that the teachers then engaged their union, the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union who then reached a deal with BEC to write letters explaining the teachers’ situation.“Some two weeks passed without any action from the Applicant.

When the letters were issued, they were not compliant, and on November 13, 2019, the Union wrote a letter to the Applicant advising that the Applicant should correct and issue appropriate letters. The Union indicated clearly what BURS required. Unbeknown to the union and the Respondents, Applicant had filed this Application on November 11, 2019.

The Application had not yet been served on the Respondents. On November 14, 2019, Respondents submitted all outstanding marks to the Applicant, who accepted these marks.

On November 15, 2019, the Respondents were served with this Application,” read the papers.However, through their attorney Mishingo Jeremia, the teachers have pleaded with the court to dismiss the application. According to them, BEC is not entitled to any of the Orders sought as they would amount to a Brutum Fulmen; an exercise in futility which is akin to a meaningless thunderbolt.   

“The orders would amount to an ineffectual judgement. The reason is that the marks were all submitted to the Applicant on November 14, 2019. By this time, none of the Respondents had been served with this Application,” they argued.On the issue of costs, they argued that if the Applicant cannot be granted the reliefs it seeks, then the Application ought to be dismissed with costs. Furthermore, they argued that having received the marks on November 14, 2019, it was unnecessary for BEC to serve them the next day, and ask for an order that they should submit marks, which had already been submitted to it. The matter is scheduled for hearing today.


Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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