* Be decisive on exam crisis - BOSETU tells minister

Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has called upon the Minister of Education, Dr. Douglas Letsholathebe to be decisive on the examination crisis.

The union called on the minister to remove the Botswana Examination Council (BEC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from office if he cannot do the honourable thing by taking responsibility for the current examination fracas and resign.

"We would like to state for the record that we are also seriously worried by the indecisiveness exhibited by Minister Letsholathebe in acting on important national issues within his Ministry.

“We are afraid that if this attitude by the Minister continues, a lot will go wrong in the Ministry without any action being taken," BOSETU said.

In the wake of confirmation by the BEC and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development that indeed, about five 2023 BGCSE examination papers have leaked, BOSETU is calling upon the BEC CEO to immediately resign as an overall person whom the buck stops with.

“All self-respecting executives who believe in accountability and taking responsibility for their organisations' actions or inactions would resign when the organisation they lead is faced with such a huge magnitude of scandalous ineptitude,” BOSETU Secretary general Tobokani Rari said.

He stated that it is the first time in the country’s history that such an embarrassing incident of examination leakages of such an intense magnitude has happened. BOSETU believes it will only be proper for the BEC Chief Executive Officer to resign while investigations are ongoing.

BOSETU has called for stern action against BEC’s continuous scandalous and poor management of national final examinations following this week’s leakage of national final examination papers.

Rari said the recent and on-going leakages scandal follows many other acts of mismanaging the national examinations, which BOSETU has previously cautioned on.

“The public would be aware that every year, towards the end of the year, the national examination process gets embroiled in controversies that jeopardise the credibility of the examinations.

“These include blatant refusal to engage with unions by BEC resulting in skirmishes over coursework supervision and assessment, disagreements over invigilation of final examinations and continuous disputes during the marking of final examinations.

“While our education system is already ailing and limping, BOSETU is disappointed that BEC’s poor management is heavily adding to its total collapse,” BOSETU stated.

It is BOSETU’S contention that the Chief Executive Officer of BEC has presided over an institution that has continuously been riddled with controversies that have gone unabated under his watch, and such controversies, no doubt, have dented the institution's credibility.

“In our view, the scenario foretasted points to a lack of leadership direction and guidance on the part of the CEO. The BEC has, on several occasions, under the current CEO’s leadership, blatantly refused to engage trade unions within the education sector whose members are engaged by the BEC for external examination purposes, resulting in continuous disputes that have jeopardised the credibility of the final examinations.

“We more often witness in examinations and over-coursework supervision and marking, invigilation of external examinations, and marking final examination scripts. All these happen owing to the suspect leadership of the CEO,” BOSETU said.

The union revealed that last year, the examining body, yet again single-handedly, without consulting the stakeholders, being parents, educators, and students, decided to change the grading criterion for practical subjects by not using marks for the practical component for those subjects in determining the final marks of candidates.

Rari revealed that this followed a stalemate that ensued between BEC and the trade unions, resulting in no agreement and teachers not carrying out coursework and coursework assessments. This, he said is another typical example of an institution that is on autopilot owing to the absence of guiding leadership from the CEO.