Teachers at Morale Junior Secondary School in Mahalapye have accused their Head teacher Sophie Tshipe of fuelling corruption and maladministration at the school through her alleged favouritism and discrimination.
The Botswana Gazette is in possession of an eight-page letter written to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education in which members of staff at the school have levelled serious allegations against the school head and those closely associated with her.
The teachers accuse Tshipe of rampant favouritism and discrimination by alleging only a few members of staff deemed to be her close associates are allowed to claim night outs, imprest and mileage on their private cars during trips. In one allegation raised by the teachers, the head teacher is engaged in a romantic relationship with one of her subordinates, a male teacher (name known to this publication) who is said to be enjoying preferential treatment from his ‘mistress’.
It is alleged that the male teacher has been authorised to submit claims to the school bursar when he goes for sporting events and sometimes, he claims mileage for using his private car instead of using bus warrant vouchers like other teachers. The disaffected teachers claim that the same indulgence is not extended to the Senior Teacher Sports who is senior to him. The aggrieved teachers allege that there are instances where the teacher had submitted travel claims when he had gone for constituency games which are not related to his work and have no association with the school.
While the head teacher is said to be strict with authorising leave for teachers, her alleged boyfriend is said to be having it easy as he recently went on leave (22-26 October) for a ‘personal coaching clinic’ without the knowledge of his immediate supervisor and without filling out the leave form and the class cover form to allow for a stand-in teacher during his absence. It is alleged that the teacher’s close relationship with the head teacher is making it difficult for his supervisors to give him instructions.
Recently, it is alleged in the letter, the head teacher’s partner had a heated confrontation with another teacher during a staff meeting, but instead of reprimanding both teachers, the head teacher called the teacher that castigated her partner and told her ‘‘You should never attack Mr….. in front of other teachers’’.
The letter states that Tshipe’s leadership has left staff members unhappy and not free to fulfil their duties which resulted in them having low morale that may have adverse results on students’ performance.
It is further alleged that Mascom donated four internet modems to the school but they were never used by staff members and the students. ‘‘There is no inventory in the school offices, laboratory and staff houses. So it is easy for government property to be stolen since there are no records’’, the teachers claim.
The concerned teachers also complained of misuse of the school vehicle and claimed that the school head’s male partner often uses the school vehicle for his home team purposes. It is also alleged that the head teacher allowed for the school vehicle to be used on 26 February 2018 to travel to Gaborone to buy a present for one Ms Moeng’s birthday party.
There are teachers who are allowed to eat from the school kitchen while others are not allowed to eat from students’ food at the kitchen, the teachers alleged. ‘‘The school head received an amount of P5000.00 as a gift to the school 2018 prize giving ceremony. Later on she took the money and decided to buy a camera but never brings it to school nor produced any receipts before the Prizing Giving Committee’’, the teachers submitted in their letter to the DCEC.
The teachers claim that staff promotions are not done on merit as the head teacher seems biased towards those within her circle. ‘‘She has caused divisions among staff members and we therefore request relevant authority to take relevant action with immediate effect’’, the aggrieved teachers wrote to the permanent secretary.
This publication tried to get a comment from the head teacher on Monday but she kept giggling and eventually said ‘‘you can write whatever they told you. I’m not going to respond to any of your questions’’. Tshipe insisted on being given the names of the teachers who leaked the information to this publication. Despite The Botswana Gazette’s insistence on the importance to get her side of the story she declined to comment and laughed off any suggestion at providing a response.