The two (2) Educators Trade Unions- Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), and Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) stand firm by their decision that they will not go back to classes without being vaccinated.
BTU and BOSETU made their decision, and campaign clear to the Minister of Basic Education-Honourable Fidelis Mmilili Molao in a meeting yesterday.
In light of the statistics by the Ministry of Health and Wellness two days ago (9 August 2021), it was revealed that thus far One hundred and five (105) teachers has lost their lives to COVID-19. It was further established that among public servants, the teaching fraternity is the most affected, followed by the law enforcement officers.
“We therefore draw a conclusion that, the high rate of COVID-19 related complications mortality in the ‘education sector is owing to the nature of the enwonment in which educators work. Educational instuions are the only industries that hold thousands of people at a go in any single day. Worse still, such is a young population that is difficult to control when it comes to adherence to COVID-19 protocols, These environments, no doubt, leave teachers terribly exposed and vulnerable, hence the high COVID-19 related complications mortalities in the teaching education sector.”the two Unions observed.
In coming to the said conclusion, BTU and BOSETU made it known to the Minister that their members will not go back to classes and teach, or interact with the students until they are vaccinated.
Furthermore, the two Unions says the school readiness assessment that is about to be carried out should used to inform a decision of whether a school or educational instituion should re -cpen or not. According to the Educators Trade Unions, schools should not be re-opened until such a time when all the teachers will be vaccinated and when the assessment has been completed, and its report discussed to map a way forward.
“The unions indicated, should the Ministy of Basic Education decide to continue this inspection that does not serve any purpose, then unions would withdraw from the exercise. In response to the above issues raised by the trade unions, the Minister of Basic Education indicated that he has appreciated the issues and that he be given an opportunity to consult cabinet and he would revert back with a response on Thursday 12* August 2021.
Over Thirty-four thousand AstraZeneca vaccine doses were received three (3) days ago. Tomorrow over hundred thousand Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to arrive, while over Eighty thousand Pfizer-Biontech vaccines are expected on Saturday the 14th August 2021. With less than a week left for schools to re-open, all eyes are on the cabinet’s decision expected to be announced tomorrow at the meeting on whether the teachers will get their jabs soon or not.
Meanwhile, the Educators Trade Unions have threatened to drag the government to court to defer the re-opening of schools until they get vaccinated.