By 9am on Monday, plain-clothed security personnel were at Kawempe Muslim primary school, where the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) and the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) announced the two-day strike last week.
Government-aided schools in Kampala are still divided on the teachers’ strike that started on Monday.
The teachers, however, claim that they are being intimidated by security operatives in a big to dissuade them from participating in the strike.
By 9:00am on Monday, plain-clothed security personnel were at Kawempe Muslim primary school, where the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) and the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) announced the two-day strike last week.
Abdul Ssenoga the school head teacher says for over a week, he has been questioned by several security people on the intention of the teachers regarding the strike.
One of the teachers who did not want to be named told Uganda Radio Network that security personnel asked her several questions including declaring the names of teachers who have not reported for duty.
At Buganda Road Primary School, the school head teacher Beatrice Mutasigwa ordered for the closure of the school gate to strangers, including journalists. But a URN journalist entered the school premises and found teachers only attending to parents. Mutasigwa says she has no business with security operatives and journalists because they are not part of her work, and sees no reason for them to be concerned.
At Bat Valley primary school the head teacher’s office was being run by the secretary who declined to reveal the head teacher’s whereabouts. The staff room was empty and only one primary two teacher was in class just before lunch time.
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Some of the pupils took the opportunity of the absence of their teachers to revise their books. Okulu Oboth, a primary four pupil, says that revising his notes was the only option.
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But at Kololo High School, one of the Universal Secondary Education (USE) schools in the city, there was no sign of the strike and students were busy writing their end of term exams.
Ahmed Luyirika Bagala, the deputy head teacher, says that while teachers are part of UNATU, it has been difficult for the school to get involved in the strike.
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Emmanuel Katikiro, a senior five student, says they had geography exams in the morning and were getting prepared for Fine Art in the afternoon art.
But Teopista Birungi, the UNATU secretary general, insists the strike is on adding that even the teachers working are doing so under pretence. According to Birungi, teachers, parents and the government need to wake up to save the future of the Ugandan child.
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Birungi says that the union has received several reports of teachers being intimidated by security agencies including resident district commissioners, but adds that the teachers union is ready to defend such teachers under the law.
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The UJCC, the Uganda Muslim Education Association-UMEA, UNATU and Forum of Educational NGOs are scheduled to petition the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday about the plight of teachers in the country.
Fr. Dr. Sylvester Arinaintwe Rwomukubwe, the UJCC secretary general says parliament needs to address teachers’ concerns before passing the 2012/13 budget.
Some of the concerns include raising their salaries from 273000 to 540,000 and the capitation grant for children from 10,000 to 22000 shillings.
On Monday afternoon, a press conference organised by Education Minister Jessica Alupo aborted after journalists walked out on her. The scribes accused the minister of keeping them waiting for over two hours.
teachers on strike
unatu teachers strike