As the Standard 7 students sit for Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), and the Form 3s and Forms 5 also about to start their exams, the Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) and teachers’ unions are embroiled in a conflict over the issue of payment for course work and invigilation.
The Botswana Sectors of Education Teachers Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) have taken a decision to boycott all BEC activities in the ongoing 2022 examinations for all school grades across the country until an agreement is reached.
Last year the responsibilities of course work and invigilation were transferred from the ministry of basic education to BEC, sparking spat from the union as these changes came at the end of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and the union. However, following the changes no memorandum of understand was signed between BEC and the union.
The responsibility of course work and invigilation were previously held by BEC and later in 2010 moved to the Ministry of education and skills development, it was moved back to BEC.
BOSETU Maun Regional Chairman, Monkatswi Sejapudi has slammed both the Ministry and BEC for failing them as teachers, citing the lack of consultation as the most outstanding issue.
Sejapudi said they demand BEC to have a memorandum of understanding with the union and negotiate payments structures for teachers to be informed of their remuneration when engaged in BEC work.
He revealed that last year BEC made a surprise announcement that it will be reducing payment rates for invigilating teachers, this he said was announced after teachers had already invigilated. However, he noted that the union was able to advocate for the teachers and the payment rate remained unchanged P76 per hour.
“Since we are now dealing with BEC we are unable to meet them since they have put their schedule too tight. We are afraid if teachers get involved in BEC activities, the council can decide to adjust the payment rate in its favor and we will have nothing to fall back on,” Sejapudi said.
Sejapudi revealed that they only got BEC’s attention in May following a course work boycott by Design and Technology Teachers. He noted that then BEC conducted a virtual meeting with the DNT teachers who then insisted BEC solves the issue through BOSETU.
“Most students have not been assessed for course work and other teachers who had already assessed are holding on to the results waiting for both parties to come up with a solution which will satisfy all,” Sejapudi explained.
According to Sejapudi it is beyond a teacher’s responsibilities to conduct external examinations and they will only work with BEC on contract basis since they understand invigilation and can conduct it better as teachers.
He has also raised a concern of late payments indicating that teachers who invigilated last year’s examinations were paid this year around April and May. He further revealed that some temporary teachers have not been paid for last year’s invigilation.
BEC was yet to revert to this publication for a comment by time of going to print.