Hlabano condemns student-teacher relationships

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SELEBI-PHIKWE: Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) president, Shandukani Hlabano has strongly condemned teachers who engage in sexual relationships with students and demanded that the law should take its course to deal with offenders.

Speaking during Botswana Teachers Day celebrations here last Friday, Hlabano said there are disturbing reports that student-teacher affairs are on the increase. He said such reports, irrespective of how insignificant the numbers are is a serious indictment on the teaching profession.He added that teachers are employed to teach and guide learners on academic pursuits and extra-curricular activities and not to engage in adult bedroom antics with their charges. "Educators who cross over the professional zone are enemies of the profession. Trade unions have pronounced their position in this regard; the law should take its course," he stressed. Using an allegory to emphasise his point, he said tadpoles should be allowed to grow into frogs and flowers to blossom without being defaced by those who do not value them. He, however, said the law should not only deal with teachers but every adult engaged in sexual relationships with under age students.

Hlabano poured scorn on teachers for undermining their profession by introducing draconian methods of managing schools once promoted to management positions. "We have not benefited from our fellow professionals whom we thought would understand the profession better than those from other professions," he said. The BOSETU president regretted that teachers are always confronted by an avalanche of problems instigated by former colleagues in senior positions. He said that for the love of their profession, teachers will not accept the Biometric Times Attendance Clocking Machines in schools until the appropriate bargaining structure has resolved the matter. He said they have been told that one school has invested in purchasing such a machine worth P30,000. He said while the machines are meant to promote productivity in the workplace, they may stifle professional growth. "We are saddened by this constriction of our democratic space in our institutions by failing to respect bargaining structures.

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