Rukungiri Pupils resort to private schools as teachers strike continues


RUKUNGIRI– As teachers under their umbrella, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) continue to strike over  what they called discrimination in salary increment, most public Primary Schools in Rukungiri district are losing pupils to private ones.

This was realized by our reporter during the survey as the Rukungiri District Deputy Resident Commissioner Ahimbisibwe Wilberforce Ongom monitored schools to assess the situation during this time of teachers strike.

Some parents in Nyakagyeme Sub County told our reporter that they resorted to taking their pupils to nearby private schools since there is no hope of government schools resuming operations soon.

In primary schools that were visited by Deputy RDC Ongom, some were totally closed whereas others were normally operating an indication that most of them might lose pupils even if they resume classes.

Some of the schools that were totally closed without even the School headteacher include Kasoroza Primary School in Nyakagyeme Sub County, Kyaruhotora primary school in Nyarushanje Sub County, Buhunga Primary School in Buhunga Sub County among others whereas schools like Kinyasano boarding Primary School and Nyakibale Upper primary schools all in Rukungiri Municipality were operating normally.

On the side of secondary schools, most of those that were visited by Deputy RDC Ongom including Immaculate Heart Girls School Nyakibale, Makobole High School, Nyakagyeme Secondary School, Bwanga secondary school among others were operating normally.

Sister Gladyce Kachope the head teacher Immaculate Heart Girls School Nyakibale revealed that her staff is working although they are not satisfied with the salary given to them by the government.

Sister Kachope confirmed that parents provide some logistics to assist the staff saying that although they are thinking about salary increment, even the money paid by the parents is being considered in addition to time lost during covid-19 lockdown.

Speaking with some School leaders at Kasoroza Primary School, DRDC Ongom narrated that although teachers want their salary incremented, they should think about their learners who are now stuck in their homes yet schools expect good performance.

Ongom however urged school management committees to engage their teachers such that they can get back to school and teach pupils before he asked them to sacrifice and get back to school since the government agreed to negotiate with them.

During the same gathering on the ongoing teachers strike, the Rukungiri district inspector of schools Aidah Gumisiriza supported the striking teachers saying teachers rallying them to return to Schools only after government solves their problems.

Last week, the UNATU General Secretary, Filbert Baguma said they met the president in the presence of selected cabinet ministers and senior government officials to discuss the issue of the salary discrepancies where the government said it was not fully aware of the consequences of increasing salaries for one category of teachers to a tune of over 300% at the expense of others.

Baguma noted that the matter has now been handed to the Ministries of Public Service and Finance to review the proposed pay plan to ensure the discrepancy is harmonized.