Tororo district deploys scouts to take stock of absentee teachers

The gate at Rock View School in Tororo town remains closed with learners also keep away as the nationwide industrial action by teachers enters the third week.  PHOTO | JOSEPH OMOLLO

Local authorities in Tororo District have deployed scouts to take stock of all teachers who are not willing to teach, following a nationwide teachers’ strike that has now entered the third week.

The new development was announced on Monday by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr Dunstan Balaba, who said the action is a reinforcement of the earlier directive issued by Ministry of Public Service.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Catherine Bitarakwate, last week directed all government-employed teachers to resume duty at their respective workstations by June 24, 2022 without fail. She also instructed chief administrative officers and town clerks to take stock of teachers present and submit absent teachers by the June 30, for eventual removal from the payroll.

Mr Balaba said his office has deployed scouts in all the 163 government-aided primary schools in the district effective today [Monday] to June 30 when the list would be submitted to the central government for final decision.

Mr Balaba noted that a number of schools had remained closed and some head teachers had gone ahead to send away learners who had turned up at school.

 ‘’The district is not acting out of the blue but under instruction, therefore we are not forcing any teacher to go back to teach. However, any government employed teacher who will not comply to the call will be treated to have absconded from duty and will have contravened section A-n [17] of the public service standing orders 2021,’’ he said.

Balaba also appealed to parents to send their children to school because the government has not ordered the closure of schools, explaining that nobody has the jurisdiction to close a public school without the permission of the government.

He advised that whereas the government continues to reiterate its commitment towards salary enhancement for all public servants which is evidenced in other sectors although in a phased manner based on available resources, there is need for the concerned teachers to be working as they demand other than demanding while not working.

However, during an interview with some of the teachers in the district, a number of them said they would not return to class until the union [Uganda National Teachers’ Union- Unatu] permits them.

Mr Kezironi Okumu, the Unatu chairperson in Tororo, said going back to class without the permission of the union would deem them as traitors. 

He said the industrial action is not only being held by the teachers in Tororo but rather a countrywide action that should not call for intimidation of a section of teachers.

‘’I respect the chief administrative officer but for now the union is bigger than we the teachers of Tororo and I wish to call upon him to engage with the Union for feedback. The industrial action is for the good of all teachers,’’ Mr Okumu said.  


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