Educators’ Over- Indebtedness Worries BOSETU

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The leadership of the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has revealed that over-indebtedness is one of the challenges its membership is grappling with, and has become one of contributing factors to depression.

Speaking at the Union’s conference in Palapye on Monday, BOSETU’s President, Winston Radikolo stated that there is a need to face the over-indebtedness pandemic with the seriousness and aggression it attacks members.

“As the leadership, we must create structures and strategies to assist our members in coming out of this scourge. BOSETU has already taken a step to try and remedy this pandemic,” he said.

He indicated that the union will be rolling out the financial literacy program to the tune of P1 million and further appealed to their social partners to join them in this initiative to assist their fellow comrades. Radikolo is also of the view that the time has come for the government to enforce the statutory minimum take-home pay as that will go a long way towards ensuring that their members reach a level where they go home with a decent pay.

“The government’s vision 2036 of having the citizens reach a high-income bracket will be realised if small changes like adherence to minimum take-home pay are enforced,” Radikolo stressed.

He noted that one of the possible solutions is to regulate the interest rates of micro-lenders highlighting that some of the neighboring countries limit these interest rates to twice the prime rate.  Radikolo is of the view that a study and national credit policy must clearly stipulate the range at which the lenders should work with. He noted that their believe is that the current rates are not sustainable and contribute to their members’ indebtedness.

 “To my esteemed BOSETU leaders, as part of our mandate, we must instill a culture of saving, not spending or consumerism, let us promote budget planning as members of this movement, let us be an example to the young generation,” he appealed.

Meanwhile, Radikolo stated that they are grateful to Minister of Health to have brought the bill on Mental Health to Parliament, as the Union has been sensitising those in the corridors of power and the nation at large about the Mental Health situation in schools.

When giving a brief synopsis of the appalling mental health situation in schools, Radikolo revealed that from 2014-2023 they recorded 2018 cases which ranged from stress to depression. He explained that the causes of these cases are plural and they include over-indebtedness, bad social environment in the workplace, failure to address genuine grievances on time, stagnant career pathway, plateauing at C1, nepotism and favoritism, bullying, sexuality, GBV, drugs and substance abuse in schools

According to him, the congress delegates had therefore recommended a holistic review of the pastoral policy, employment of Psychologists and Professional Counselors in schools and up skilling of school management to enable them to handle these complex HR issues.

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