Private school owners have questioned a government directive requiring them to pay their teachers’ salary arrears.
They said instead of government responding to their demands and issuing guidelines to enable them reopen, the officers have now shifted their responsibilities.
Mr Hasadu Kirabira, the Kampala representative on the Kampala National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA), on Tuesday said while they have presented their demands to the ministry of Education, they have not received any response.
Instead, he said they were shocked to receive a notice from the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Alex Kakooza, threatening to revoke their licence in case they don’t pay their teachers.
“The communication has come in at a wrong time. We expected guidelines on how to reopen. We have managed before to pay teachers without interference from government. We have so many grievances, which we tabled to them and they have not responded,” he said.
“Companies have laid off their workers. Some are paying half salary. The situation is not normal. You can’t come out to dictate. We are struggling to cope. When you bring restrictions, we don’t understand. The government has our money. We have been paying taxes. This is the time to pay us back,” Mr Kirabira added.
Another parallel association echoed similar concerns, demanding that government sets up an education fund to boost the private sector in paying the teachers and feeding their learners.
Mr Patrick Kaboyo, the secretary of the the Federation of Non-State Education Institutions, wondered where government wants the school proprietors to get money to pay the teachers when the institutions were abruptly closed in March before most of the parents cleared the fees.
Last week, Mr Kakooza wrote to school proprietors, informing them to meet their obligations and pay the teachers. “My attention has been drawn to various reports and other workers...are not being paid their due salaries. This is to remind you that you are required to pay your employees during lockdown,” he said.