Science teachers change status with new pay perks

A teacher during a lesson at Entebbe Comprehensive Secondary School in Wakiso District on April 5. While Science teachers say the enhanced salaries have motivated them to work, their Arts colleagues say they are demoralised. PHOTO | XINHUA

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  • Others have ventured into private investments such as shops and farming.

A section of Science teachers in government-aided schools in the country have stopped moonlighting after the government increased their salaries two months ago.
A mini-survey carried out in several districts across the country shows that other teachers have ventured into private investments such as shops and farming.
The monthly salary of a secondary school Science teacher is now between Shs2.5m and Shs4.2m, up from between Shs795,000 and Shs858,000.

Science teachers say there is now financial stability offered by their primary jobs unlike before, hence no need for moonlighting.
Mr Mashood Kabanda, a teacher of Physics at Kitayunjwa Seed Secondary School in Kamuli District, says his new salary scale is more fulfilling.
“I have stopped engaging myself in extra jobs because I am earning enough to sustain my family and I am using the money profitably,” Mr Kabanda says.

He says although he is getting a lot of money compared to his counterparts, the Arts teachers, his behaviour at school has remained the same for peaceful existence.
Mr Mutyama says several private schools will suffer the human resource gaps created by Science teachers who are no longer moonlighting.
“Most Science teachers have backed off from part timing because private schools pay little, there is no reason for me to get Shs2.8m and move out to go and look for an extra Shs200,000 from a private school,” he argues.
Mr Stephen Wanambwa, a teacher of mathematics at Luzinga Senior Secondary School in Kamuli District, hailed the government for fulfilling its promise of enhancing salaries.

 “With the additional income, I am able to comfortably meet my children’s tuition fees and I am also organising myself for retirement by putting up some investments,” Mr Wanambwa says.
However, he says some Science teachers are still part-timing because of high demand for their services in private schools.
“Even without the salary increment, science teachers are few yet private schools rely more on them,” he says.
Another Science teacher at the same school, who declined to be named, said most of their Arts colleagues are disoriented towards work.
 “These days, when the Science teacher is on duty with an Arts teacher, the latter will want a science teacher to do more work,” he says.
But Mr David Sidialo, the headmaster of Manjasi High School in Tororo District, says the relationship between Arts and Science teachers is still cordial at school.

“We are pushing for the withdrawal of PTA funds from the science teachers to enhance the Arts teachers’ pay but this is a decision taken at Board level,” Mr Sidialo says.
Mr Joseph Matyama, a teacher at Busoga College Mwiri, says his enhanced salary has enabled him to service the loans he had.
“We were not effective at school because every time I would think about how to pay the loan and how to survive with my family. But now we can service the loans and have something to remain with and do developmental work,’’ he says.
Mr Nelson Balabyeki, the head teacher of Jinja Comprehensive Secondary School, a private facility, says they now can’t get Science teachers from government schools to moonlight in the private schools.  “Since the government increased salaries for science teachers, they are tied at school. Previously, there was no strict monitoring and they used to get that chance of moonlighting,” he says.

More commitment
In Kigezi, the chairperson of the science teachers association, Mr Edison Tumuhereze, says enhanced salaries have given them ample time to concentrate on teaching to ensure that learners pass the Science subjects.
 “As leaders of Science teachers in this region we have warned our colleagues against using the enhanced salaries to start up personal business because such trends will divert them from teaching,” he says. He adds that some of the Science teachers have used the enhanced salaries to build permanent houses while others are taking their children to good schools.
 Mr Joab Tumwebarize, the director of Kabale Trinity College, a private school, says they are still managing because not all Science teachers have been recruited by the government.
“There will be a crisis once all the Science teachers are recruited by the government. For now we are still managing with the little resources we have to employ the science teachers,” Mr Tumwebarize says.

In Kakumiro, Mr Sunday Africano, a Science teacher at St Edwards Secondary school Bukumi, says the enhanced salaries will improve academic performance.
“The Science teachers are now very committed to their mother schools and they are now committing more time and resources to the students,” Mr Africano says.
In Arua City, Mr Alfred Nyakuni, a teacher, says when he received his enhanced salary, he was not excited because debtors were also knocking at his door. “So I had to offset debts and pay the school fees balance,” he says.
Nevertheless, he said Science teachers have “regained morale for teaching”.

 In Terego District, the head teacher of Owaffa Secondary School, Mr Albern Arindu, also says Science teachers have continued to work part-time in other schools.
“We have allowed the Science teachers to part time for only this year because if we stop them abruptly, it might affect the performance of sister schools,” he says.
The coordinator for Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union for Terego District, Mr Saviour Apiliga, noted that the salary increment has created hatred between Arts and Science teachers.

Unhappy Arts teachers
“Some teachers of Arts are still not happy that the government decided to increase salary for only teachers of Science,” he says.
In Moyo, Mr Justin Akol, a Chemistry teacher at St John Dufile Seed Secondary School, says he has started investing part of his salary.
“I have invested part of my salary in the mobile money business. I am also hoping to invest more in livestock,” he says.
In Mbale, Mr Allan Francis Eotu, a Science teacher at Bungonkho Secondary School, says the increment will improve their living standards.

In Kampala, Ms  Betty Kisakye, the administrator at  Bright Future Vocational Secondary School, a private school in Kawempe, says  they have  for a  long time  been remunerating their Science  teachers well, the reason they have  retained the majority of  them.
“Teachers’ welfare has always been among our top priorities, which has enabled us to guarantee good academic performance. So, I am sure we will continue having them here,” Ms Kisakye says.
Mr Derick Kyambadde, a Mathematics   and Physics teacher at Bishop Dunstan SS in Kalangala Town Council, says the salary increment effected in July will enable them to change their standard of living and also asks the government to  consider their Arts counterparts  too.

“For sure, some of them have started losing morale and may soon be forced to venture into other more paying jobs,” he says.
Mr Alex Ssemwogerere, the chairperson  of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) in Kyotera District, says most of the teachers in the district are now planning to secure vacancies in the civil service because they have realised that they can reap more money compared to  private institutions .

Compiled by Fred Wambede, Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa , Philip Wafula, Abubaker Kirunda Sylvester SSsemugenyi, Ambrose Musasizi, Denis Ssebwami, Tausi Nakato, Philip Wafula, Abubaker Kirunda, Felix Warom, Robert Elema, Robert Acema ,Scovin Iceta, Robert Muhereza, Naume Biira, Leonard Mbishinzimana, Alex Tumuhimbise  & Joseph Omollo.