Ministry backtracks on teachers' allowances

Teachers will receive allowances as per previous arrangement
Teachers will receive allowances as per previous arrangement

Teachers who coach athletics at school, will breathe a little easier after the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) rescinded an earlier decision to pay them a reduced allowance instead, reinstating the previous arrangement, where the payment was much higher.

The MoBE had issued a savingram last month, indicating that teachers would be paid P500 per day, which was to be taxed.  But the Ministry has decided to revert to the previous arrangement where teachers were paid P500 per day for inter schools competition, P600 sub-zonal competition, P700 for zonal and P800 for national athletics competition.

The MoBE permanent secretary, Bridget John said the Ministry, in collaboration with Botswana Primary Schools Sport Association (BOPSSA) and Botswana Integrated Sport Association (BISA) were engaged in a review of the sports management models.

“The primary intent of the review exercise is to identify a model that would accord learners an opportunity to derive optimal benefits from the school sports programme. We intend to conclude the exercise by the end of April,” John said.

The directive from the Ministry is that sports shall continue to be managed and conducted in the same way as it was in 2018. “BISA/BOPSSA shall avail competition schedule as usual. Teachers who will take an active part in sports shall be entitled to a nominal participation allowances as determined and adopted last year.

The participation allowance shall be paid by BISA and BOPSSA,” she said.

John said while the cost of running sports is increasingly becoming unsustainable, the Ministry is committed to continue to make sports an integral part of education.

BISA spokesperson, Letsweletse Jonase told Mmegi Sport that they are happy with the decision to revert to the previous arrangement. “The decision that was taken by the previous permanent secretary was draconian. It was going to kill our school sports. We are now excited to see that John shares our vision,” he said.

Jonase said negotiations are ongoing and after they are concluded that is when they would map the way forward.

He said teachers have been waiting for BISA to inform them to continue coaching athletes at schools. “Our members have been constantly enquiring how far we are with the negotiations. We are not going to force anybody to participate in coaching, only those who are interested, will take part,” he said. BOPSSA president, Busani Segweni said it is up to the teachers to either accept or reject the Ministry’s decision. “We have done our part and it is up to the teachers to decide.

The savingram is an indication that the Ministry is willing to engage and they have put across valid points,” he said.

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