Jinja: On Thursday, October 5th, Uganda joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Teacher’s Day, an annual event. The national celebration took place at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, with this year’s theme being “The Teacher We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse Teacher Shortage.”
This day serves to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of teachers to the educational development of children. It also aims to strengthen the emotional bond between students and teachers, recognize their rights and responsibilities, and establish standards for initial training, ongoing education, recruitment, and employment.
In Jinja city, teachers gathered to celebrate their day at Kivubuka Primary School in Budondo, Northern Division. Under the banner of the “Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU),” teachers raised concerns about what they perceive as disarray and division created by President Yoweri Museveni, who has prioritized science teachers and increased their salaries.
Ms. Rodah Kakulu, the UNATU chairperson in Jinja city, stressed the importance of equality in the education sector, asserting that all teachers play the same role. She advocated for equal pay between arts and science teachers.
“How can you give a science teacher over four million shillings and only shs.700,000 to an art teacher? Is that really justice?” questioned Ms. Kakulu.
Mr. Haruna Mulopa, the Jinja City inspector of schools, expressed concern about the growing number of teachers who have turned to other economic activities, such as motorcycle taxi (bodaboda) riding. He criticized teachers who spend more time running their commercial enterprises than focusing on their professional responsibilities.
“Some teachers are present at schools, but they just sit in classes instead of teaching,” Mr. Mulopa said. He expressed optimism that this behavior could potentially affect the educational standards of Busoga region, known for its academic excellence in the country.
In response, Kakulu rejected Mulopa’s allegations, stating that teachers establish their own enterprises as a means of improving their welfare and economic status. She attributed this trend to the government’s failure to transform the lives of teachers and called for salary increases regardless of the subjects taught.
She emphasized that teachers often struggle to provide food for themselves and their families, highlighting that higher salaries would help ordinary teachers meet basic needs amid the economic crisis and high cost of living.