Delivering his speech during the national celebration of World Teachers’ Day at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala, Museveni attacked supporters of the accelerated reopening of schools closed because of COVID-19 and warned teachers not to put him in breath because of money.
The government, he argued, will prioritize higher pay for science teachers it has qualified as biology, physics, chemistry, math and ICT teachers at secondary school level and above, as they directly contribute to the advancement of society and the improvement of livelihoods, unlike their counterparts in the arts. .
“This idea that we tell you [is], please, we want to increase the salaries of all teachers and civil servants, but if we don’t have enough money, what do we do? Why not start with some, some that are most needed and these are the scientific cadres in different fields, ”said Museveni.
He added: “This is our ideology of the bush [when he led the guerrilla war that brought him to power in 1986]; this is not a new position. This resistance you [Arts teachers] pitching against our long standing position is not correct. I would advise you to calm down and stop hampering our plan because it is well thought out.
Uganda National Teachers’ Union (Unatu) Secretary General Filbert Baguma questioned the logic of the recent Cabinet approval of a gross monthly salary of US $ 4 million ($ 1,116.34) for science teachers.
“What is the major plan to increase the salary of other categories of teachers with the same qualification and the same salary scale, but specializing in teaching other fields?” If this [salary] increment [for only science teachers] is implemented, what happens to the commitment that the government signed with teachers in the collective agreement in 2018? ” He asked.
Baguma, reading a written memorandum, warned of divisions within the education sector, dissatisfaction, discord and demotivation if the government goes ahead with its discriminatory pay plan and said that , if it were not reversed, the policy risked derailing the reopening of schools scheduled for next January. .
He added, “As a nation, we count on teachers to do their best to help the education sector recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The way that says [salary] the increase is paid should motivate rather than demotivate and divide the teaching fraternity… we are raising a red flag, there is a lot of anxiety among the different categories of teachers.
President Museveni, while echoing in part the demands of the teachers, said: “We want more pay, more pay if you don’t, industrial action”, it actually means to put me under pressure. “
Education Minister Museveni’s wife Janet has assured teachers the government will not forget them and the hamstrings that await them when classes resume.
“As a ministry, we understand the challenges that teachers, our frontline soldiers, face. We pray and believe that these challenges are not insurmountable. We can’t forget our colleagues when times were really dark… neither can we run away, ”she said.
Ms Museveni said they would consider the issues Baguma raised in the memorandum, such as recruiting more teachers and on-the-job retraining to ensure a smooth reopening of schools after nearly two years.
Baguma instructed the government to improve their remuneration and working conditions, to constantly re-equip them and called for increased funding of the education sector alongside the recruitment of more staff and the operationalization of the national policy. teachers.
Turning his gun on Ugandans demanding the reopening of schools, citing, among other things, teenage pregnancies and disruptions in children’s academic progress, President Museveni said the government still had a plan and knew well what was going on. it was.
“[You are talking] education matters, but we had to survive [the pandemic]. This time it was for survival and I am very proud that we have protected our people from death… do not compare death with the loss of time, the loss of jobs, the loss of money that [are] reversible, ”he said.