Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union, BOSETU says they are worried that the education sector would be impacted negatively by the envisaged cost cutting measures, specifically right sizing of the public service announced by the Minister of Finance Dr Thapelo Matsheka during the 2021 budget presentation early this month.
In their budget review session, BOSETU President Winstan Radikolo said it had been proposed that in order to deal with the high wage bill:
Government needs to right-size the public service. Meanwhile, as an effort to reduce the wage bill, Government will abolish 50 percent of vacant positions, in value, as of 1st April, 2021. In this regard, the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) will be expected to review the size of the public service and, during the 2020/21 Financial Year, recommend measures to right size it as part of over-arching public sector reforms. (Paragraph 126)
“This proposal on the right sizing of the public in our service in our view, does not augur well for the education sector. It is amazing that Government is seeking to abolish some of the vacant positions whilst there are still acute shortages in the education sector”, Radikolo said.
“ It will not be proper to abolish some positions and still continue to engage people on temporary basis. A deliberate effort should be made to address the human resource needs of the sector especially in schools and vocational institutions (brigades) as a matter of urgency”.
Radikolo further added that as things stand at the moment, at least 2000 full time teachers are needed in schools, while in the health sector the ratio of nurses to patients and doctors to patients in this country had been one of the poorest for many years.
Rasdikolo also said it was offensive to BOSETU and the trade union movement to learn about right sizing of the public service for the first time hrough a minister of finance’s budget presentation, adding that they expect to have heard it from the Directorate of Public Service Management, who is the employer, after prior consultation with trade unions as stakeholders.