Pay teachers according to their qualifications, teachers ask government

Arua, Uganda: Teachers in West Nile sub-region have appealed to the government to consider paying them according to their qualifications.

Speaking during the launch of WALIMU Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) funds for the teachers of West Nile on Tuesday, the teachers, mostly from primary and secondary schools blamed their reluctance to upgrade their levels of education on what they called government’s “failure to value their academic papers.”

“We are urging the government to pay us according to our qualifications. For our case as primary teachers, we are getting a salary scale of U7 which is about Shs.400, 000 net whether you are a graduate or a fresh Grade III teacher, and this has demoralized many of us from upgrading,” said Daphine Amajuru, a teacher from Adjumani district.

At the event held at Heritage Courts Hotel in Arua town and graced by First Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali, the Union(WALIMU) officials also launched a dummy cheque of Shs.499.8million, which has already been disbursed to three teachers’ SACCOs of Adjumani, Nebbi/Zombo and West Nile teachers’ SACCO.

The money is part of the Shs.17.085 billion which was received by WALIMU SACCO from the government of Uganda, as part of the government’s phased pledge to invest Shs.5billion in the teachers’ SACCO. WALIMU SACCO is the umbrella body of all teachers’ SACCOs in Uganda, whose principal role is to foster the growth and development of teachers’ SACCOs in the country.

During the function, Amajuru told Gen.Ali that many teachers were finding it useless to spend their little salaries on upgrading yet the government doesn’t factor in qualifications when determining their pay. She said that as a result, teachers were lacking in motivation, thus affecting the performance of government schools.

She instead proposed that the government set aside funds to assist teachers to upgrade, like is the case with other civil servants in the district.

Amajuru was backed by another teacher, Marino Tabule from Maracha, who argued that time had come for the government to start paying teachers’ salary scales that are commensurate to their level of education.

“When you complete a Diploma especially for primary school teachers, they say that adds you a knowledge advantage, but the pay stays the same. I think that is totally unfair because they don’t consider the fact that you spent a lot on the studies.,” said Tabule.

Meanwhile, Jamal Magezi, a teacher of Onzivu primary school in Arua Municipality attributed teacher absenteeism and by extension, poor performance of government schools to the poor remuneration of teachers, which he said leaves them no option but to look elsewhere to make ends meet, undermining their concentration at school.

“The uncertainty in the fluctuating prices in the market is affecting us so much, a reason we opt to go for quick loans and later run away from classes for fear of being arrested by the financial institutions,” said Magezi.

He welcomed government investment in their SACCOs, saying that it was a welcome relief from exorbitant interest rates of commercial banks.

“Most microfinance institutions have been giving us loans with high-interest rates. You find a teacher borrowing money at an interest rate of between 20 to 30 percent per month, and yet he has other things to do with the same salary. This has forced most teachers to dodge classes because money lenders are following them for their loans,” said Magezi.

In response, Moses Ali assured the teachers that the government was aware of their plight, and promised to present their concerns in Cabinet. In the meantime, he urged the teachers to make use of the WALIMU SACCO funds to supplement their salaries.

“Your number is so big as teachers and this has been a big challenge to the government. But as we prepare to address your problems, use this opportunity to borrow at affordable rates to supplement on your salaries,” he said.

According to Stephen Nabende, the National Board Chairman of WALIMU SACCOs Union, so far, 17, 000 teachers from 185 SACCOs have benefited from the funds in the whole country. He encouraged the teachers in West Nile to form more SACCOS in their respective districts also partake in the opportunity

WALIMU SACCOs Union advances funds to teachers’ SACCOs at an interest rate of 8 percent per annum, and teachers borrow the money at a rate not exceeding 15 percent per year, a rate that’s significantly lower compared to those of commercial banks.

The post Pay teachers according to their qualifications, teachers ask government appeared first on The Cooperator News.

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