Kikuube teachers shun celebrations over salary inequality, Gulu priest dismayed

Some of the teachers attend the International Teachers Day at Sir Tito Winyi primary school grounds in Kiziramfumbi Town Council, Kikuube District. (Image: Gad Asaba)

Gad Asaba, Denis Omony & Samuel Baguma

Majority of Kikuube arts teachers Wednesday did not attend celebrations to mark the International Teachers’ Day reportedly due to their dissatisfaction with government’s salary enhancement disparity between them and science teachers.

With more than 600 teachers in the district, less than 150 attended the function with only five from secondary schools.

Speaking at the celebrations at Sir Tito Winyi primary school grounds in Kiziramfumbi town council, Mr Silver Tibaleka, an arts teacher at Kiziramfumbi secondary school, advised arts teachers to use the salary disparity as a spring board to their prosperity by initiating and registering companies that suit their arts bias.

He advised Geography teachers to use their knowledge to establish tour and guide companies while economics and commerce teachers can use their knowledge to educate and sensitise people about business formulation and financial literacy.

“It is not a crime being an arts teacher because we all make a contribution to the development of society. As an arts teacher, the message I give to my fellow arts teachers is the good news that we can prosperi right where we are. We can become successful with what we have. Let the devil not shame us or lie to us that we are not worth,” Mr Tibaleka said.

Adding: “I motivate our teachers that there is so much we can do with what we teach. When such [salary enhancement incongruence] happened, I was motivated to start an organisation of my own. That is how we shall earn money no matter what you are. We all face challenges in life but let us use them to advance ourselves. Let us not be embarrassed, let our situation advance us. Let our anger not destroy us but we use it to motivate us.”

Audio: Tibaleka on salary disparity (English, Runyoro blend)

Mr Samuel Kiiza, the Chairperson Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) Kikuube district branch, attributed the low turn up to the imbalance in salary earning between science and arts teachers.

However, he said despite the discrepancy, coming together is one of the avenues both primary and secondary school teachers can address the challenges they encounter in their service such that they can be solved to better their career.

Mr Kiiza appealed to higher authorities to also consider increasing salaries for arts teachers because they face the same challenges as science teachers do given the fact that they subscribe to the same teaching line of work.

Audio: Kiiza on salary discrepancy (English)

Mr Peter Banura, the Kikuube District Chairman, said government position on teachers’ salary caused discontent among arts teachers who view it as discriminatory and lacking appreciation for their efforts in the teaching service.

He said such teachers questioned the use of celebrating the day when the government does not recognise their input in teaching and disrespecting arts subjects that has resulted in being demoralised.

However, Mr Banura solaces them saying despite the condition, everybody has a different role to play in society, thus, the need to cherish and love their profession.

Audio: Banura on salary inequality (English)
A section of teachers attend the International Teachers Day at Sir Tito Winyi ground in Kiziramfumbi Town Council, Kikuube District. (Image: Gad Asaba)

Mr Peter Bisoborwa, the Kikuube Deputy Resident District Commissioner, appealed to arts teachers not to get demoralised over salary disproportion saying that the government was working on the matter.

“It is very unfortunate to see all arts teachers shun the International Teachers’ Day celebrations. But government is working hard to see that their salaries are enhanced,” he said.

In Gulu, Rev Fr Justine Uma, the Parish Priest of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Laroo-Pece Division, expressed dismay over teachers’ low pay in relation to their workload and compared to other office bearers who he said earn much more than teachers.

He said that compromising teachers’ salary, compromises the quality of teaching predicting that it will in turn impact on the learners negatively.

The priest said the teachers’ meagre salary does not motivate them to do their work happily and effectively urging Members of Parliament to look into their plight as a matter of urgency.

Audio: Uma on salary disproportion (English)
Female teachers match to Hoima Public Primary School as part to celebrate the International Teachers Day on Wednesday, October 6, 2022. (Image: Samuel Baguma)

Also during the celebrations held at Hoima Public School, Ms Robinah Kabayaga, the Chairperson UNATU Hoima main branch, urged the government to treat teachers equally since they both perform the same duty of ensuring that students get quality education.

Mr Johnson Kusiima Baingana, the Principal Education Officer Hoima City, urged and encouraged teachers to continue working hard at all levels of the education system whether they get a salary increment or not.

The Hoima City Mayor, Mr Brian Kaboyo, appealed to teachers saying their demand for salary enhancement should not stop them from teaching as government finds possible ways of addressing the matter.

He advised them not to rely on their monthly pay, saying venturing into a daily income business is also the best way for them to boost their financial ranks.   

“Do not depend only on a monthly salary but rather look for other means of getting daily income as authorities work hand in hand to push the government to increase the salary for arts teachers,” Mr Kaboyo said.

Mr Badru Mugabi, the Hoima Resident City Commissioner, advised teachers to form Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) to bolster their income.

He also advised them to upgrade their academic documents reminding them of government announcement that a head teacher of a primary school must be a degree holder.

“It is advisable for you teachers to upgrade otherwise you will lose jobs because Primary Teachers Colleges are fading out and no longer admit teachers,” he said.

Teachers’ salary structure

A science degree holder teacher’s salary was increased from Sh1.2m to Shs4m while a science diploma holder’s salary was enhanced from Shs950,000 to Shs3m.

An arts graduate teacher remains at Shs1m while a primary school teacher earns approximately Shs480,000 excluding allowances for hard- to – reach areas, according to the salary enhancement that started in July 2022.

However, UNATU wants government to pay Shs4.8m to a science graduate teacher and Shs4.5m for those teaching arts and humanities subjects while Shs1.35m as a minimum wage for a primary school teacher.

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