Science tutors strike over removal from new pay scale

Some of the tutors display placards expressing their concern and calling on the government to intervene. This was during a press conference held at the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union offices in Kampala on Thursday. Photo | JANE NAFULA

What you need to know:

  • The strike started at exactly 11:59pm and will continue until the Ministry of Public Service (MoPS) reinstates them back to the science pay scale after they were scrapped in September last year.

More than 450 science tutors and their ICT counterparts from 23 Government Primary Teachers Colleges (PTC) yesterday declared a countrywide strike over unclear removal from the science payroll.

The strike started at exactly 11:59pm and will continue until the Ministry of Public Service (MoPS) reinstates them back to the science pay scale after they were scrapped in September last year.

In a press statement issued yesterday, the Uganda Professional Science Teacher’s Union (UPSTU), an umbrella body binding all science teachers and tutors, said some officials have been frustrating their members since last year by deliberately refusing to reinstate them on the new pay scale.

Mr Aron Mugaiga, the Union secretary general, told this publication in an interview that they have engaged all stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), on the matter since October last year in vain.

“We raised this issue in a meeting held at the Ministry of Public Service in the Boardroom on November 23, 2023 which was attended by its officials, MoES officials, union leaders, and selected representatives of affected science tutors,”  said Mr Mugaiga.

“It was observed that the affected science tutors who possess science education degrees and diplomas like the secondary school teachers, are recruited as tutors and deployed to PTCs,” he said.

“The science tutors have been earning science salary scale since 2014 and were already on an approved Science Salary Scale (enhanced in 2022) as indicated in the Circular Standing Instruction (CSI) No.1 of 2022 SCHEDULE 4B but were suddenly removed from this science pay in September 2023 without formal communication,” the statement read.

The strike comes days after the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Ms Ketty Lamaro, clarified that there are scientists in Primary Teachers’ Colleges. Her position follows a directive by the Ministry of Public Service to clarify several issues, in response to a petition by science tutors who alleged that they were not being paid according to the new salary scale.


After weeks of strikes spearheaded by a section of science teachers over pay, President Museveni ordered a pay enhancement for all scientists passed by Parliament and implemented starting the FY2022/2023. These included science teachers and tutors, with the President reasoning that the aforesaid play a pivotal role in the country’s socio-economic transformation.

According to these disgruntled tutors, their salaries were enhanced together with other scientists in 2022 which saw an increment in their salaries from Shs800,000 to Shs2.2m for Diploma holders and from Shs1.2m to Shs4.3m for degree holders.

They added that the ministry without any communication removed them from the new pay and started paying them using the old scale despite engagements and warnings.

Following several engagements, the Permanent Secretary of Public Service ministry, Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, through her Undersecretary, Mr Godfrey Kaima, on November 14, 2023, wrote to Ms Lamaro asking if these tutors are indeed scientists.

In response, Ms Lamaro in the February 23 letter informed Ms Bitarakwate that some tutors in PTC are scientists.

Mr Mugaiga said a section of Public Service Ministry officials has since refused to reinstate these affected tutors on the new pay scale.

The Union, he added, cannot just ignore this malicious actions.

“We stand firm in our commitment to justice for our members who have been unfairly removed from the approved science pay scale. Despite discussions held with Ministry officials since October 2023, and subsequent notices for industrial action, the matter remains unresolved to date with no official communication as promised,” he said.


When contacted yesterday, the Permanent Secretary of Public Service ministry, Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, referred Daily Monitor to ministry Undersecretary Godfrey Kaima.

In a telephone interview, Mr Kaima, asked science tutors should be patient because the matter arose in the middle of the financial year yet they had not been budgeted for.

He said the sudden removal of these teachers came after the ministry discovered that some arts teachers had been added to the science pay scale, prompting them to revise it.

“We held a meeting with science tutors where we spelled out specific questions to the Ministry of Education for clarification on the policy position, which they did clarify but the decision to pay is a financial decision [where] money has to be available. It’s a budget issue [and we] don’t create money but what we have to do is to quantify the issue in terms of monetary and once that is done, we go to finance and look for money based on what they have and will also advise cabinet accordingly,” he said,

He added: “Where do they expect the government to get money midway to meet that pressure? There is a directive by the President to pay science head teachers and deputy head teachers in writing but it has not been affected because of financial constraints.”