Unemployed and Temporary Teachers Movement have raised their concerns regarding their short contracts and poor students’ performance to the Minister of Basic education- Fedelis Mmilili Molao recently.
With the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) early last year, in adherence to COVID-19 protocols- especially of social distancing, the government was forced to hire some more teachers, most of which were engaged on temporary contract basis. Although the development benefits the unemployed teachers by taking them off the streets, the move also has a downside on the side of the students.
The results of completing students in Botswana has been a pandemic for some time before corona. This resulted in cut-off grades for progressing to the next levels to be dropped often to enable at least a minimum enrollment required number to be met.
According to Bibo Kevin Prince Gaothusi, the communications manager of the Unemployed and Temporary Teachers Movement, the bad student results are due to the short temporary teachers’ contracts. “The teaching profession is a profession of building bonds and relationships in order to get desired results from our clients, which in this case are the students. It takes time for the students to understand us as teachers, and build relationships with us that will enable them to pass.” Gaothusi wrote.
Gaothusi indicated that not only do the short contracts affects the students, but also inconvenience parents/guardians and fellow teachers as they also work with them for the betterment of student academic performance.
In their open letter, the movement plea with the minister to consider extending the duration of their contract for the benefit of all the stakeholders as they too are also negatively impacted. The duration is currently 6 to 12 months. “We understand that we are employed on temporary basis as teachers but we have our socio-economic aspects of life.” Gaothusi lamented.
The movement acknowledge that long-term contracts they are requesting for will come at a cost for the government, but they pleaded with the minister that “the negatives should not make us to overlook the positives.”