300 primary school teachers in Yumbe have been laid off from their jobs. According to the district education office, they either had forged academic certificates or bribed their way into the jobs.
Last year all government-aided primary schools in Yumbe underwent a review. It was specifically aimed at establishing how many qualified teachers were employed by the district.
Mark Tivu, the Yumbe District Education Officer, says he was shocked by the extent of the employee irregularities in the schools. He says he took action by first sacking 200 people who had absolutely no qualifications to teach.
A number of untrained teachers were retained with the instruction that they should immediately upgrade their qualifications. Tivu says the majority of these teachers didn't comply with orders and were also fired.
Now Yumbe district has advertised the more than 300 vacancies for primary school teachers. The Education Officer is optimistic that this will improve the teaching standards in Yumbe.
Yumbe regularly posts poor performances in the national primary leaving exams. In the just-released 2009 PLE results, less than 10 children in the entire district obtained first grade passes.
The West Nile office of the Uganda National Teachers' Union is unhappy with the sacking. Oneti Batia, the union's regional coordinator, says the sacking violated the teachers' right to employment.
Dicky Bileni, one of the sacked teachers, claims he was a victim of tribalism. He says he was fired because he is not from Yumbe and he is of a different tribe from the district administrators.
The District Education Office disputes this claim.