Gaborone — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has learnt that the Ministry of Basic Education was working on a strategy to accommodate sports in public schools without cost overheads.
Ministry permanent secretary Ms Bridget John told a PAC meeting this week that it was important to come up with a sustainable solution to ensure that sports continued in public schools in order to produce all rounded learners.
She explained that sports in public schools was temporarily suspended only for this year in order to settle the debt owed to teachers who administered sporting activities.
Teachers, she said, should be paid overtime in line with the Employment Act, hence the suspension of sporting activities until the debt was settled.
She said the ministry was also working on how best to manage overtime that had ballooned because it was not decentralised.
"We want to come up with how best we can create certainty in payment of overtime," she said.
Ms John said the ministry was considering allocating budget to schools in order to manage their own overtime as a way of controlling it.
She said the ministry faced a plethora of problems among them aging infrastructure, shortage of textbooks, inadequate accommodation for teachers, shortage of classrooms and furniture.
The ministry, she said, had put in place framework contracts to ease the procurement of textbooks and decentralise funds to secondary schools to procure based on their needs.
Meanwhile, PAC members have expressed disappointment that the ministry was in the habit of reporting a litany of problems with fewer solutions.
They questioned the rationale for a textbooks procurement system that was not decentralised.
The procurement system had become a topical issue in most public schools, they noted.
PAC members wondered how pupils could pass examinations when textbooks were still in short supply.
However, Ms John said shortage of textbooks was exacerbated by loss explaining that most learners did not replace the books they lost.
Ideally, textbooks should last three years for the life of a curriculum but they were constantly lost and never replaced.
On other issues, PAC members encouraged the ministry to ensure that salary overpayment and surcharges on motor vehicle accidents were addressed.
Source : BOPA