Legislators weigh in on plight of teachers

Members of Parliament during a plenary session chaired by Speaker Anita Among at Parliament on July 5, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA.

What you need to know:

  • The Speaker urged teachers to continue with their noble duty of teaching as the government continues to look for various solutions to the issue at hand.

The predicament of teachers in the country was brought up yesterday for discussion by Members of Parliament as they resumed business for the second session of the 11th Parliament.  

This follows recent industrial actions by Arts teachers over salary disparities. The teachers have since resumed work after the government insisted that Science teachers would be priority for salary enhancement and other groups would be handled later. 

“There has been a concern on the plight of teachers and learners in public institutions,” Ms Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament, said as she chaired the afternoon session at the House. 

“This follows [previous] industrial action by teachers and such has become regular in our education sector. I urge the government to carefully study the grievances of the teachers and devise sustainable solutions with realistic immediate, medium-term and long-term interventions so that we can be able to resolve this issue,” Ms Among, who doubles as the Bukedea District Woman MP, said. 

For now, science teachers will be priority for salary enhancement, a consideration that irked their colleagues teaching Arts and caused them to strike. On Monday, the Arts teachers bowed to government pressure and called off the strike. 

“This is a matter of urgency because the selective salary enhancement for the science teachers is discriminatory in nature and has opened a Pandora box,” Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, the Manjiya County MP, also the Opposition Chief Whip, said.  

It is projected that the salary for a degree-holder science teacher will increase to Shs4 million, up from Shs1.2 million, while a diploma-holder science teacher will earn Shs3m, slightly triple the current pay.

Meanwhile, the monthly salary of an Art teacher will remain at Shs1,080,000 while his diploma-holder counterpart teaching at a secondary school will get Shs795, 000. Primary school Sciences and Arts teachers, on the other hand, will earn about a monthly salary of Shs560,000 before tax.

Ms Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo Woman), said the matter needed to be addressed in compliance with the law on equal opportunity. 

“We need to address it [the matter] also in terms of equity. We must come out with a clear definition of why [we] should have two categories of salary payment when paying teachers,” Ms Ogwal said. 

The Speaker urged teachers to continue with their noble duty of teaching as the government continues to look for various solutions to the issue at hand. 

To this, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju, (Kira Municipality) said he did not find it wise for teachers to return to the classrooms.  

“Madam Speaker, you have urged the teachers to return. Even if I don’t agree with it, now, I fear contradicting you. I thought for me, if you had not said that, I would be urging the government to give teachers the same pay,” Mr Ssemujju said. 

The debate on the matter was finally put to rest after Ms Among issued a directive that Ms Robinah Nabbanja, the prime minister and leader of government business in Parliament, presents a comprehensive statement at a later date on how the government is planning to resolve the issue. 

“Let’s wait for the report from the prime minister and then debate on the report. Then, we shall come up with solutions and actions to be taken,” Ms Among said.