Teachers in Luweero spent the first day of their sit-down strike digging in the gardens.
Teachers in Luweero spent the first day of the sit-down strike digging in their gardens.
Last week, Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) announced a two-day sit sown strike for Monday and Tuesday to protest failure by government to improve the teachers’ welfare.
UNATU secretary general Teopista Birungi said teachers want a 100 percent pay rise instead of the 15 percent proposed by government in the 2012/2013 financial year budget.
The minister for Education and Sports Jessica Alupo ordered teachers to go on with studies but they defied her orders.
Teachers from more than 10 schools that URN Reporter visited were seen working in their private gardens digging while others were engaging in other personal businesses. Only the school administrators and guards were found at the schools as pupils played football and other games to pass time.
Some of the schools visited include Kikunyu, St Jude Luweero, Luweero Seventh Day Adventist, Kasana-UMEA, Luweero Girls, Luweero Boys, and Luweero Islamic primary schools among others.
Palma Adong, a teacher at Kikunyu primary school, says that she has decided to spend her time in the garden as the strike goes on.
Adong explains that she receives only 270,000 shillings but spends 100,000 on rent per month because the school lacks staff houses. She also spends 5000 shillings per day and another 3000 shillings on lunch. At the end of the day, she says, she cannot save money for family survival.
//Cue in: “As per now………
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Another teacher of St. Jude Primary school, Zephrino Bitarabeho, who was also working in his garden, said that they have failed to look after their families and educate their children due to poor pay.
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For Thomas Orieb, another teacher, it seems government understands strikes and that is what he resorted to doing so that it can act. He adds that they are demoralized because even the money for Universal Primary Education scheme is little forcing head teachers to spend own money to run schools.
At Kasana-UMEA primary school, pupils told URN that they had not seen any teacher and asked government to look into their grievances because they are suffering yet they are supposed to sit exams in two weeks.
Charles Sserwambala, Luweero Senior Education Officer, says that they sent a team of inspectors to different schools and found that the teachers had abandoned their work. He says he is planning a crisis meeting to see how they can persuade teachers to return to work as their grievances are addressed.
UNATU chairman for Luweero, Richard Ssembajjwe, says that they are mobilising resources to go to Kampala on Tuesday and join the rest of their colleagues to present a petition to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
In August last year, teachers went on strike over the same issues but the governments responded by raising their salaries by 15 percent.
Uganda National Teachers' Union
ministry of education and sports
unatu teachers strike