Teachers don’t read – Radibe

| April 25, 2013

Hardly two weeks after teacher unions criticised President Ian Khama for saying he does not like reading books, the men and women of the chalk are sharing the president’s sentiments about books, albeit tongue in cheek. The startling revelation was made by former president of Botswana Teachers Union, Japhata Radibe, in his speech during the BTU’s 3rd elective congress held last week in Francistown. “Our teachers don’t read; they hardly read, and as a result they are in the dark about most issues that affect them.

Most of you here don’t know the statutes that Botswana ratified with the International Labour Organisation,” declared Radibe. The former Radikolo Junior Secondary School principal who was forced into early retirement in 2007, boldly told the teachers that the government is aware of their ineptitude and is using it to oppress them. He said currently teachers do not have social protection, adding that due to their poor reading culture most of them are not aware that they need protection. “You need to invest more in occupational health and safety because your work environment poses a serious health risk.

The chalk dust has negative effects on your health.” The former BTU president informed congress delegates that the current government does not allow for dialogue though it has ratified ILO Convention 144, which emphasises on social dialogue between the employer and the employee. “The problem is that most of you here are not aware of the core conventions that Botswana has ratified with ILO and whether these conventions are being implemented.,” charged Radibe before turning the heat on government, accusing it of using dive-and-rule tactics to disorganise the teachers.

He singled out the meeting which president Khama had with the teachers at State House, which excluded the union leadership. He called on the executives of the various teacher unions to take action against teachers who talk to the government when they have not been cleared by the leadership. “It is not right for the state President to invite teachers to the State House without the permission of the union leadership. I call upon you to discipline any of your members who do that.’’

The president of Botswana Sector for Educators Union (BOSETU) Shadukani Hlabano concurred with Radibe that teachers have not made it their habit to inform themselves. “It is true most teachers don’t read and I believe it is because they spend most of the time helping students and trying to understand the syllabi,’’ he commented. Asked about their members who are invited to the State House without their permission, Hlabano said he does not see any problem with teachers being invited for tea at the State House, saying such social gatherings should not compromise the ideals for which the teachers stand.

“It is not like the teachers are invited to take decisions on our behalf,’’ he said. BTU Secretary General Ibo Kenosi also admitted that most teachers hardly read, but was quick to point out that it is not only the teachers but Batswana in general.

Category: News

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