In a recent gathering at Kololo, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni responded to Vincent Elong, the Chairperson of the Uganda Professional Science Teacher’s Union, directing the Ministry of Education and Sports to create a well-defined scheme of service for teachers. This scheme is aimed at outlining the processes of teacher promotion and remuneration.
The President highlighted the need for such a scheme, emphasizing its potential to streamline teacher compensation, incentives, and motivation, which could lead to improved service delivery by teachers. He drew a comparison with the Foreign Affairs Service and suggested a similar framework be introduced for teachers to facilitate their career advancement.
The occasion at Kololo marked World Teachers’ Day, with teachers discussing the theme, “The teachers we require for the education we aspire to: The global urgency to address the shortage of educators.”
Currently, there is no clear path for career progression once a teacher assumes a classroom role, which has discouraged many from pursuing further academic qualifications. Promotion typically only occurs when a teacher transitions to a deputy headteacher or headteacher role, which isn’t feasible for everyone.
President Museveni expressed his concern about this issue, wondering whether those responsible for addressing it had disregarded his advice, as the problem has remained unresolved since he raised it in a meeting with Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) leaders back in 2011.
The proposed scheme of service was initially formulated in 2005 by the Education Service Commission but has been put on hold. Efforts to promote primary teachers were initiated in the Financial Year 2009/2010 but were subsequently suspended. In 2011, a budget was announced for this purpose, but no concrete progress was made.
The issue of housing for teachers also emerged, with suggestions for the government to assist teachers in constructing better personal houses or constructing staff quarters on school premises. President Museveni supported the need for housing but preferred an institutional approach.
Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni confirmed that staff housing is now a top priority in new projects, including the UGIFT project, which has been constructing seed schools across the country.
During the event, demands for a salary increase were raised, with President Museveni emphasizing that as more funds become available, all teachers will receive salary increases.
This year’s Teachers’ Day celebration had a smaller attendance compared to previous years, with the influential group of teachers under UNATU conspicuously absent. However, science teachers praised the Ministry of Education and Sports and urged their colleagues in the arts to remain patient while waiting for promised salary increases.
UNICEF recognized and awarded six teacher trainers with laptops for their exceptional contributions to the teaching profession. The President also pledged to inject more funding into the savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS) of various teachers’ unions during the event.