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Government somersaults on teachers overtime allowance

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FRANCISTOWN: Followinga proposal by the Ministryof Education and Skills Development(MoESD) to slip backteachers to their initial 10 hourschedule, the Directorate of PublicService Management (DPSM)Director Carter Morupise has revealedthat instead of overtimeallowance, they will be compensatedaccording to the peculiarityof their profession.This development follows revelationsat the Public AccountsCommittee (PAC) that payingteachers’ overtime allowance hasbecome too costly compared towhen they worked 10 hours. Theministry, it has since emerged, hasalready paid P17 million as overtimeallowance since last year.

 

It also appears that as long as the newPublic Service Act, 2008 is in effect,the government is compelledto pay overtime allowance.For the past few years the ministryhas been at loggerheads withteachers unions over payment ofovertime allowance, however lastyear the government agreed toremunerate teachers for workingextra hours.But with only a year into implementationof the agreement pursuantto the provision of the law,the government is already regrettingthe seemingly costly decisionand wants to rescind it as a costcuttingmeasure.Morupise told the NorthCast inan interview that since the teachingprofession is totally differentfrom others, there is a need tocome up with specifi c regulationsin order to address the peculiarityof the profession.He denied abolishment of overtimeallowance but explainedthat they are trying to come upwith some form of compensation.

 

“Currently our only suggestion iscompensation for working extrahours but we are still consultingwith teachers unions in order toaddress this issue,” he said.Morupise said teachers shouldnot panic over the envisaged reviewof the Public Service Act,2008 because it serves to addresstheir profession which needs specialtreatment.“It is not only because we arelooking at the money the governmentspent in paying teachersovertime allowance but rather thepeculiarity of the profession andhow this overtime issue can beregulated to reduce huge costs,”Morupise pointed out.Further the DPSM Directorsaid that he does not think that theextra-curricular activities will beaffected because teachers will stillbe compensated for engaging.

 

For his part, Botswana Sectorsof Educators Trade Union(BOSETU) President ShandukaniHlabano said that the governmentcannot just bring any changesthey like to the teaching professionbecause the law states thatthey are entitled to overtime justlike any other profession. “If thegovernment wants to bring anychanges they have to start fi rstlyby engaging teachers unions becausethey are key stakeholders.So the reality is that should theybring that change, extra-curricularactivities and remedial lessonswill also stop,” he warned.

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