Unatu, education ministry clash over Teachers’ Day

Unatu general secretary, Mr Filbert Baguma.

What you need to know:

  • The Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, in her message to the teachers commended them for their contribution to the country and emphasised the responsibility that they bear in ensuring that all children and youth everywhere can enjoy the right to education.

Teachers across the country have vowed to stay away from classes today to enable them participate in the celebrations organised to mark the national Teachers’ Day.

However, the Ministry of Education has warned the teachers against the move, saying they do not have the right to declare any day a public holiday.

In a circular addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, the General Secretary of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu), Mr Filbert Baguma, notified the ministry that teachers will not teach today.

“Celebrations will be organised in all districts, municipalities and cities countrywide. Different stakeholders and teachers from both public and private schools are expected to participate,” the circular read in part.

It added: “As our mother ministry, we would like to notify you that teaching will not be conducted on Wednesday, October 5 so that teachers fully participate in the organised celebrations at designated venues.”

In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, Mr Baguma said: “We shall not be in class today because it is our day. We do not need to get permission from the Ministry of Education. We just need to inform them about our decision.”

However, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Mr Denis Mugimba, said Unatu does not have power to declare a public holiday.

Mr Mugimba said the ministry was not aware about the teacher’s move to absent themselves from duty today, saying it is illegal.

“If the teachers are working in private schools, they can be absent. But if they are teaching in the government schools, they know the procedures of declaring a public holiday,” Mr Mugimba said.

The Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, in her message to the teachers commended them for their contribution to the country and emphasised the responsibility that they bear in ensuring that all children and youth everywhere can enjoy the right to education.

She said whereas the government will not be able to celebrate with the teacher’s today, the day will be celebrated on November 11.

 “Our teachers help in interpreting and implementing the aims and objectives of education. They instill the desire to learn and develop the ability to acquire knowledge and skills to participate in public life and national development,” Ms Museveni said in her message which was released today.

She added: “Therefore, no matter where you are in the world, you have had a teacher that you still remember for the positive impact that they made in your life — someone that may have helped you to finally grasp a challenging concept in your classroom experience.” 

Teachers’day

This year’s national Teachers’ Day will be celebrated under the theme “Transformation of education begins with teachers”.

The General Secretary of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu), Mr Filbert Bagum said the celebrations will give teachers an opportunity to reaffirm the central role that they play in shaping the future and in the transformation of education.

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