Why we should rally behind Art teachers

A teacher conducts a class at Kabingo Model Primary School in Bushenyi District in early February 2022.  PHOTO/ZADOCK AMANYISA

What you need to know:

  • To avert the stand-off between arts teachers and government,  how about we use the Defence budget? 

 As voters we are the cause of a lot of wrongs happening in Uganda considering the way we vote. We send to high ranking offices such as Parliament  people that aren’t concerned by our plight. 

The country’s economic and social development is stagnant because our attention has turned away from issues of national importance such as teachers’ and doctors’ salaries. 

Having majority Nation Resistance Movement MPs makes it impossible to table a motion to harmonise salaries, not just for those teaching in government schools, but also for those teaching in private schools because government has already made its decision clear. 

Some graduates teaching in private secondary schools receive a monthly salary of just Shs200,000. 

On the other hand, teachers in government schools continued to receive salaries during the two-year Covid-19 lockdown while those in private schools didn’t.

The latter vacated the rented house because they could not afford them anymore. When the government reopened the schools many teachers found themselves having to travel a long distance to get to the schools. Along the way because of these hurdles, many abandoned the teaching profession.

In all fairness, how can you pay a graduate teacher Shs200,000 per month?   Such meagre salaries can hardly cover rent costs. They have to buy food, household essential items like soap, toilet paper, tooth-paste, body cream and etc. They have to pay for medical treatment and medicine.

Important to note is that teachers of Arts handle more students than their Science counterparts. This means more papers to mark, more stress. 

If forced to teach, teachers will not adequately support students to understand concepts and pass the exams because they aren’t motivated. 

Imagine if an Art teacher told their students to buy a textbook, read during the lesson time and write their notes. While this teacher is sitting in the same class preparing notes to sell to other interested students. Students will definitely fail their exams. Would you like that outcome?
Yet when teachers demand decent pay, our government says it doesn’t have sufficient money to increase the salaries of teachers. 
Contradictory, the same government is buying new expensive cars for Members of Parliament who take home huge allowances.  

On several occasions, public funds have been swindled without a trace while sometimes those interdicted are never punished. Government resources are publicly misused and put where they should not be. 

By now, the government should have set up every LC zone centre where a teacher can access crisis loan funds interest-free. To avert the stand-off between arts teachers and government,  how about we use the Defence budget? 

We aren’t at war neither have we been in the past five years. We can reduce the Defence budget to cater for teachers in the interim as we thinks of other ways of increasing money in our coffers.

Caxton Kasozi-Batende, [email protected]


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