The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has promised to restore the dignity of teachers and the teaching profession by introducing incentives for teachers and improving their working and living conditions and introducing a productive Teaching Council.

According to the UDC, it will deliver first rate education that equips people with the skill-sets to drive socioeconomic change, now and in the future. UDC Labour Secretary Justin Hunyepa said their approach is to shift human resource development towards the skills of the future and the demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

He stated that as UDC they want to equip schools from primary to secondary with state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment and avail tablets to all learners from the primary to the tertiary levels of education, and upgrade teacher skills as appropriate.

As the UDC, Hunyepa said they pledge to review and overhaul school curricula to shift it decisively in the direction of subjects that support innovation and creativity such as, sports, film, music, entertainment and television industries- from infrastructure and facilities to instructors.

Hunyepa said “a UDC government will invest in the three critical 4IR capabilities of first-rate human capital, first rate infrastructure, and business sophistication. We will subsidise data usage for students and unemployed youths and provide facilities with high-speed connectivity and computers to provide platforms for ICT graduates to engage in programming, coding, and software development."

UDC calls on BTU to strengthen its advocacy and lobby strategies with likeminded teacher organisations domestically and globally. Benchmark with developed countries and see how best teachers are treated. Sound policies and programmes must be formulated to empower the teaching fraternity who can be deployed both locally and globally.”

According to the unionist, since its formation in 1937, BTU has stood the test of time and this is the real time now to reflect if it has lived its mandate as a civil society organisation to improve the working and living conditions of the teaching profession. Hunyepa said it is a fact that teachers are not happy with the current conditions of service. "You have done your best under the circumstances, but you can do far much better," he said.

“You and the other teacher unions have the numbers to get what you want. The current Cabinet and Parliament is dominated by former teachers, starting with the President, the Vice President and several ministers. This is really your time to eat by taking advantage of those holding real power in government."

UDC promises to introduce state of the art technology in schools by equipping classrooms, from the primary to the tertiary level, with the technology necessary to give learners the type of education they need to compete with their peers anywhere in the world and secure Botswana’s future prosperity.

They promise to develop clear and rewarding career paths for educators to allow them to grow and realise their career and remuneration aspirations within teaching and lastly to decentralise the management of schools to districts and schools.