By Jane Nambi
Schools have been temporarily closed and students sent back home as the teachers’ strike continues into the fourth day.
Some of the schools which have so far been closed include Buganda Road, Nakasero, Bat Valley, Kyaggwe Road, Nabagereka, Old Kampala, East Kololo, Shimoni and Ngora District’s St. Aloysius and Okoboi Demonstration primary schools among others.
The headteacher of Aciisa Primary School in Ngora District, Mr. Stephen Asiata said he would not yield to pressure unless the government honours its promise. “It is only Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) that will advise us otherwise. We shall not yield to any intimidation by some of the State agents who are threatening us,” Mr Asiata said.
The headteacher of Luzira Church of Uganda Primary School, Mr. Mukisa Dexious said out of 1,037 pupils, only 30 had reported yesterday which in turn forced school administration to send the children back home. “The parents have started understanding and kept their children at home. We only have few P7 candidates who are reading on their own. We had agreed with teachers last term that when we open for third term, we would complete the syllabus,” Mukisa said.
Government is still insisting there is no money to increase their salary.
UNATU general secretary, James Tweheyo said they had handed over their report to the Office of the President, “We are holding on to our guns. Any intimidation will make the situation worse. The parents should be more worried and ask the government to pay us. We have submitted our report to the Office of the President. We trust they will deliver it to the President,” Tweheyo said.
Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Lindah Nabusayi however said they had not yet received the teachers’ report. “I have crosschecked with the protocol office here and that report is not there yet. The President wants it urgently. Mr Tweheyo is lying to you. He knows where to find the President. Why did he decide to take the report to Parliament?”
Currently, there is an estimated 8.5 million pupils in 12,075 public primary schools and 650,000 students in 1,004 government-aided secondary schools. In secondary schools which adhere to the universal education, students and teachers report for classes but there are no lessons taking place.
At Kololo SS, out of the 55 teachers, 24 had signed in the teachers’ attendance book. “Being a city school, we cannot stay away because we have a big number of students. When they come and do not find anyone, they can cause havoc,” Peter Sibukule, a teacher at Kololo SS, said.
This is the fourth day into the strike. Teachers want government to honor their 20% salary increment which they promised to effect this financial year.