Covid forces head teacher out of class to gatekeeping

Mr Rogers Gimei, a former acting head teacher, at his new work station in Mayuge District on April 21, 2021. PHOTO/PHILIP WAFULA

What you need to know:

  • On August 1, 2020, Mr Gimei was no longer a head teacher but a security guard manning a warehouse in Namanve as his first duty station. Between February and March this year, he was guarding in Kololo, an upscale Kampala suburb, and he is currently guarding World Vision offices on Kaguta Road in Mayuge District.

The outbreak of Covid-19 in the country in March last year left a trail of devastation in its wake. 
But for Mr Rogers Gimei, a teacher by profession, it ushered him into a whole new world and profession; a security guard.

Having obtained a Grade III Certificate from St Paul Primary Teachers College, Nazigo in Kayunga District in 2018, the future seemed bright for the father of two who hails from Bukilinjya Village in Masaba Sub-county, Sironko District.

But just as he had settled at Fairway Childcare Nursery and Primary School, Nama Sub-county in Mukono District, as a teacher of Mathematics and Science and later deputy headmaster, Covid-19 struck, momentarily putting him out of formal employment.
“When government announced the closure of schools, I conducted the last assembly on March 18 and dismissed the students. On March 20, I chaired a staff meeting to officially bid farewell to the teachers,” Mr Gimei said last Wednesday.

Tough choice
“However, most teachers kept around at the staff quarters because they were demanding their salary. Personally, I was demanding February and March salary,” Mr Gimei added.
By the time Covid-19 struck, Mr Gimei was the acting head teacher after his boss left the school in December 2019.
To keep busy, he planted maize, sweet potatoes and cassava on a hired plot of land until June 4 when President Museveni announced the resumption of public transport and he sent his family to Sironko.

But when his salary arrears piled up and a bleak future beckoned, he decided to think fast and look for “anything” to do to support his family in the village and himself in Mukono.
That is when a friend who had joined G4S, a private security company, recommended him to follow in his steps, a decision,  he seized with both hands.

On August 1, 2020, Mr Gimei was no longer a head teacher but a security guard manning a warehouse in Namanve as his first duty station. Between February and March this year, he was guarding in Kololo, an upscale Kampala suburb, and he is currently guarding World Vision offices on Kaguta Road in Mayuge District.
He is, however, unfazed by the discrepancy in payment, as he earns Shs270,000 per month as a security guard compared to Shs450,000 he earned as acting head teacher.

“The biggest benefit from my current job is that I get my salary on time. Despite being little, I am sure of getting it,” he said, adding that he has never worked at night due to his qualifications and responsibilities as a family man.
On what he misses about his profession, Mr Gimei, while brandishing a Mathematics textbook, said: “I miss a lot. I am a teacher and once the situation normalises, I’ll go back and teach; that’s why I keep researching. I also no longer have the opportunity to associate with pupils and colleagues.”

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