Government owes teachers over P30 million
There’s uncertainty over whether teachers will honour a calendar of events for sports activities scheduled for this first term of the year.
Schools should be gearing for athletics competitions, but there has been no correspondence from the Ministry of Basic Education.
Both Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) and Botswana Primary Schools Sports Association (BOPSSA), have already submitted their calendar of events and are still awaiting a response from the Ministry.
However with an outstanding balance of over P32 million, a grant meant to cover both sports activities held in July 2019, the Ministry finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
Responding to a question posed by Ngami Member of Parliament, Caterpillar Hikuama, Assistant Minister, Nnaniki Makwinja revealed that the Ministry is yet to release funds for the 2019 calendar of events.
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Hikuama had asked the Minister whether she was aware that teachers who were engaged in sporting activities in March and July 2019 under the agreement that they will be paid an allowance of P500 per day are yet to be paid.
The MP also wanted to know how this delayed payment will affect their future participation in the core-curricular activities and eventually national sports performance.
In response Makwinja said that those who participated in the athletics competitions in March 2019 have been paid by the associations, a statement that was confirmed by both BISA and BOPSSA.
She further stated that her Ministry is yet to assist the association with grants to cover both sports activities held in July, 2019 which amounts to P32,154,671.00.
“Our Ministry expects to have paid subventions to the associations before the end of July 2020, so that the teachers can be paid. The delay, as you all know, is caused by funding constraints,” said Makwinja.
She further said it is possible that some teachers may choose not to participate in sports this year.
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“However, we can assure you that, many of our teachers are very dedicated, passionate and trained sports coaches who will continue to support sport in schools unconditionally.” she said.
It is the above statement that has left most sports teachers seething with anger. They immediately took to social media to condemn what they termed exploitation by government.
In an interview with Voice Sport, BOPSSA President Busani Segweni said they are not sure whether they’ll be any athletics competitions as is the norm in the first term.
“Our calendar of events is ready and we’re only awaiting the Ministry to tell us how we are going to run the event, and how teachers will be paid,” said Segweni.
Segweni said usually the Ministry would state her terms on how teachers would be paid for their efforts and as teachers: “They can take or leave the offer.”
“However most of the time teachers’ll accept the offer as it is and then demand payment later. No one is forcing them to agree with the terms of engagement from the Ministry,” he said.
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Likewise, Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) President, Jonas Gaothobogwe said they are also awaiting a signal from the Ministry.
“Teachers are ready to perform their core-curricular activities, but we’re waiting for the ministry who funds all sporting activities,” he said.
Gaothobogwe said he was concerned because the ministry still owes teachers over P22 million in unpaid allowances, and is yet to pay the 2019 subvention for sports activities.
“This makes funding the 2020 activities a doubt,” he said.
The BISA president said not having schools sports activities will have a negative impact on national teams performance.
“Remember in 2018 the Ministry failed to fund our trip for the Confederation of Southern African Schools Sports Associations (COSASSA) Games in Windhoek Namibia. We also missed out on the same games in Zambia last year. Should this happen for the third year running it’d be catastrophic for our sport,” he said.