Teachers’ Strike and How Government is Deliberately Killing the Education Sector

Teachers’ Strike and How Government is Deliberately Killing the Education Sector

After a series of gambles and experimental policies in the Education sector, Government of Uganda [GOU] has now reached its wits end and is now resorting to such high handedness against striking Arts teachers.

It will be recalled that many Commissions have made proposals on how to make our Education relevant, accessible, and fundable. Over the years GOU has ignored calls for better remuneration and increased funding to Education institutions and schools, preferring to divide and rule and lots of experimentalism in the sector.

It is inconceivable to imagine that Ugandans will succeed in a system designed to fail them right at the start. For example, the rural poor are taught in their native language but expected to excel in Uganda National Examination Board [UNEB] administered exams in English; there is automatic promotion for all in the Universal Primary Education [UPE] while requiring  them, because of their poor performance at A-Level to afford private sponsorship for tertiary education; there is a refusal to equip laboratories in secondary schools and then demand that the products of these schools do sciences in order to qualify for better pay as science teachers; the refusal to  implement affirmative measures in worst performing Districts like Serere, Napak, Zombo etc., and  then dangle  a quota system and  Government sponsorship which they can't qualify for; and, lastly, dictate to these schools not to charge money for lunch for these children and give them a capitation equivalent to seven thousand shillings per term per child. Before we know it, the education sector is literally wound up, remaining only as a restless dysfunctional and ill funded public sector.

Restlessness, anxiety, negotiations, patronage, and threats now define the heartbeat of teaching and learning in Uganda. Having vented my frustrations, let me revert to the teachers strike.

To the science teachers, congratulations for getting your share. Now please keep quiet as you eat. Do not berate Arts teachers because they are also trying to get food on the table. You go to the same markets, same dysfunctional heath centres and pay tuition for children in the same institutions. The same tuition fees you paid to be trained is what they paid as well. Please keep quiet and enjoy your cut.

To the Arts teachers, we stand in solidarity with you, knowing how no science can ever be taught until you have formed the vowels, the handwriting, the interpersonal relationships, the ability to communicate and the capacity to comprehend the language of instruction. We recognize that you invest the same lesson duration as science teachers. We further recognize that societal engineering is vested on your shoulders and that seems to be the reason you are shunned by those in power. More importantly, we note that you were not fore warned that you would be discriminated against after being offered teacher training by the same Government now threatening your survival. It is unfortunate that they are not offering you a retooling option either. Your concerns are legitimate, and Government ought to listen to you.


Government of Uganda, I am sure if you were listening to educationists in the field of early childhood development, which you have shunned, those from education management, which you want to populate  with cadres, and  if you listened to  professionals in human resource development where you have majored in broadening the gap between the uneducated and the educated, you would know for sure that the Arts teachers are the stability you need for science education to thrive. You would know that that different salaries for same tasks are discriminatory and demotivating. You would know that a teacher sitting in class on the basis of a threat does not mean teaching and learning will take place. You would know that standing in front of students and actually delivering a lesson in physics does not and cannot constitute the sum total of learning required to create wholesome personalities needed in the service of humanity.

Lastly, that despite your wanton appetite to break the fabric of our nation, these machinations will ultimately stab your own hand. Exhibiting intolerance is the worst you can adopt in grievance handling. It is a show of fatigue and arrogance.

I hope and pray that Government will act appropriately to save our education system. In Uganda, money can be found as long as the issue gets to priority ranking by those in power. Remember also that an education system is only as good as the quality of its teachers.


Alaso Alice Asianut

Retired Arts Teacher and Parent.

Ag National coordinator Alliance for National Transformation

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