West Nile Teachers Want Govt to Address Pay Irregularities

Arua, Uganda: Teachers in West Nile region have appealed to government to consider paying them according to their grades.

The teachers, from primary and secondary schools, said majority of them have failed to upgrade just because government doesn’t value their academic papers.

“We are urging government to pay us according to our qualifications. As primary teachers, we are earning a salary scale of U7, which is about Shs400,000 flat whether you are a graduate or a fresh Grade III teacher, and this has demoralised many of us from upgrading,” said Dafin Amajuru, from Adjumani district.

Amajuru made the appeal before Gen. Moses Ali, the first deputy prime minister, during the launch of WALIMU savings and credit cooperation organization (SACCO) funds for the teachers of West Nile at Heritage Courts Hotel in Arua town on Tuesday.

The WALIMU SACCOs Union Limited is an umbrella body of all teachers’ SACCOs in Uganda whose principal role is to foster the growth and development of all teachers’ SACCOs in the country.

The Union officials used the opportunity to launch a dummy cheque worth Shs499,850,000 which has already been disbursed to three teachers’ SACCOs of Adjumani, Nebbi/Zombo and West Nile teachers’ SACCO.

The money is part of the Shs17.085 billion received by MALIMU SACCOs Union from the government.

But during the function, Amajuru noted that many teachers are finding it “useless” to spend the little salaries they earn on upgrading, citing lack of value as government does not pay them according to their grades.

This, the teachers say, affects performance in public schools.

Amajuru proposed that government sets aside funds to assist teachers to upgrade like it is the case with other civil servant in the district, saying this would motivate them, thus improving education standards.

Similarly, Marino Tabule, from Maracha, said it was time government started paying teachers salary that are commensurate with their level of education.

“When you complete a diploma, especially for primary school teachers, they say that is an added knowledge and yet you spent a lot on the studies. I think that is totally unfair,” said Tabule.

He said the problem of the uniform salary scale has demoralized many teachers in most government schools, a matter that should be addressed.

Meanwhile, Jamal Magezi, a teacher of Onzivu Primary School in Arua Municipality, said, “The uncertainty in the fluctuating prices in the market is affecting us so much, a reason we opt for quick loans and later run away from classes for fear of being arrested by the lenders,” said Magezi.

“Most micro finance institutions have been giving us loans with high interest rates. You find a teacher borrowing money at an interest rate of 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 always on their tails,” said Magezi.

Gen. Ali promised to take the teachers’ concern to the relevant authorities. For the meantime, he urged the teachers to make use of the WALIMU SACCO funds to supplement on 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 supplement on your salaries. I can’t see any reason why you can’t borrow the money government has put in your SACCO to improve on your lives,” Ali 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 so as to benefit from the government funds.

Nabende said WALIMU SACCOs Union advances funds to teachers’ SACCOs at an interest rate of 8 per cent per annum and teachers borrow the money at a rate not exceeding 15 percent per year compared to the loans they pick from other micro finance institutions.

The post West Nile Teachers Want Govt to Address Pay Irregularities appeared first on The Cooperator News.

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