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    OPINION: Tears Of Teachers In Uganda: Help Us Please! No One Is Well Since We All Stopped Earning In February….

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    A teacher instructing a pupil (Photo: Courtesy)

    Fellow Ugandans,

    Irrespective of where you reside, rural or urban, Colleagues in the Teaching Fraternity, other professionals, ladies and gentlemen.

    I sincerely salute you all.

    I am exceeding honoured to share this a voice which I believe will be a significant addition to the rest of the written text that have so far been circulated or forwarded to perhaps quiet authorities.

    My name is Kalibo Dan. I am a male teacher in one the Prominent Primary Schools in a certain Division, Kampala District.

    Before this school which changed my negative experience, I have worked with three renowned Primary Schools in the Central Districts of Uganda, and closely associated with over 50 Private and government aided Primary and 10 secondary Schools in the Central, Western, Eastern and Northern Uganda. In addition, I have had chance to interact with over 5000 teachers on my social media platforms and in the “job search” environment.

    I have also had chance to interact with many people across Professional Boards of qualification and if I am to mention a summary of my message, this mother profession, Teaching, is in a total mess.

    This post intends to relay the outcry that the Teachers of our motherland, Uganda have as of now.

    1. Let me hope our leaders have not forgotten that whoever went to school went through a Teacher’s Hand, including the “scientist” who of late has become part of the lyrics in our *Noble* new song of war led by our President “THE FIGHT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS”

    I want quote once again that the ROOSTERS of today were once eggs that were carefully handled at incubation to become so.

    This clearly tells me that whatever we want as a better standard of our tender nation should begin today.

    “A better and committed scientist or Doctor you need tomorrow should be handled today at school level, right from Kindergarten to University” all those are levels under a teacher, irrespective of what they teach(Science or Arts).

    This drives my point home, a scientist needs to communicate findings in a precise and exact manner. All observations are communicated and this is usually the work of basic art subjects. I am a primary teacher and I teach all subjects, but I feel challenged when I hear the professional beginning to give birth to sub-groups, that not only sound by name, but also by the privilege settings.

    My major points are not basically on the disparities in my profession. They are also in relation to other professions. Teachers belong to formal employment systems. In this testing time of COVID-19 we have had a need to have them mentioned in anticipation of when schools will resume. Some components of the private sector and its employees have been appreciated partly, but when it comes to private schools as yet another component, not a single word has been heard according to the utterances made by different officers in response to COVID-19 response so far.

    The hint of the matter above can be made categorically clear to stand in the ongoing help given in form of home supplies and food. No mention of a teacher in a private school has ever been heard. Before I put a request on behalf of over 2000 teachers, let me remind our leaders of the following:

    1. All schools and institutions of learning broke off on 20.03.2020 by noon.
    2. All private schools and institutions depend on fees collections. These collections always strike 50% when the parents have visited their children at school (for primary and secondary), others clear fees towards the end of the month. All these had not happened by the closedown.
    3. All private institutions have infrastructure managed and developed by the proprietor(s) who also need to collect something in form a profit for their own families and life.
    4. All private schools pay tax to the government.
    5. Most private schools operate on mercy to acquire school dues from their clients(parents). Such schools even fail to pay their teachers during holidays, and they don’t have a full operational legal framework in the management of their schools. In this case, many teachers come and leave due to lack of formal employment procedures, which even see them miss their salaries.

    As I write now, many teachers are saying that schools had not yet paid them for the arrears of February, March came in when we broke off, April ended and now May is in a cue. How are those teachers surviving?

    The above crisis cuts across. There are instructions which pay teachers per lesson especially secondary school teachers, private tutors and lecturers. Have our leaders tried to think about how those teachers are living with their families?

    1. In a simple summary, teachers, especially those working with private schools, and those in government aided schools but working on PTA basis need great help in form of home supplies and food.

    I am reliably informed by some of my colleagues that some parents can easily be persuaded to host private teachers for hire at their individual homes. Since the fear to die of hunger is close to the mind of teachers instead of catching the Novel Coronavirus, they will opt for that and the two parties will not have any safe landing, since the virus could be eagerly waiting for that opportune moment.

    7 *Call for help!*

    Dear Hon Minister of Education and First lady, Maama Janet Kataha Museveni and our dear President of the Republic of Uganda, I am using the simple voice to reach you through this simple means, accord us the necessary help! No one is well since we all stopped earning in February, even those in government schools.

    We have begun to admire what we didn’t qualify for like being DJ’s, Journalists, Drivers, telcom service providers (who at times are even our risk to meet fraudulent businesses) Nurses, etc. because they have been supported, yet we’re here starving and they went all through our Mighty Profession, Teaching. Please reach out for TEACHERS!

    1. *Prayer*

    The COVID-19 Pandemic situation has helped us to learn bigger lessons circumstantially, and we need to even think about our Education system and assessment so that the panic and worries lessen the next time we’re faced with the same or related challenges as a nation.

    We pray to the Almighty God to give you more wisdom as our leaders, and to grant our nation a wider gap to escape the projected effects of this invisible enemy!

    “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” quotes Lewis’s Carrol of Alice. Indeed we don’t know but we shall overcome!

    I am KALIBO DAN

    FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY

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    EDUCATION

    St. Peter’s SSS Naalya Dragged To Court For Suspending Female Student On Allegations Of Selling Marijuana, Matchboxes To Fellow Students…

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    St Peter’s Senior Secondary School Naalya has been dragged to the High Court Civil Division Kampala for suspending a female student on allegation of selling marijuana and matchboxes to fellow students.

    In his suit, Tracy Bamanya Natukunda, a senior six student accuses the school of denying her a fair hearing when they decided of indefinitely suspend her.

    However, the presiding Judge Musa Ssekaana, the head of the Civil Division of the High Court dismissed Natukunda’s application where she was seeking a Court order directing the school to allow her to continue with her studies as Court proceeds with the hearing of the main suit.

    In their defense, the school confirmed that the applicant was admitted in February 2020 to study the combination of Divinity, Entrepreneurship and Literature in senior five.

    The school divulged that after months of admission, they established that she was indiscipline and disobedient to the extent of selling cookies with marijuana and matchboxes to fellow students.

    The school said that when she was caught red handedly at first, she was given the opportunity to defend herself through recording a statement over the allegations and her parents were summoned and informed of their child’s behaviour.

    The school told Court that even though the applicant committed a grave crime, she was allowed to stay in the school because her parents pleaded with the school administration.

    However, she abused the opportunity given to her when she started physically attacking and harassing students and teachers who testified against her thus becoming a threat to the entire school community.

    It was overwhelmingly agreed to indefinite suspend her.

    In his ruling, Ssekaana agreed with the school authorities that the applicant is a threat to other students and teachers because she even physically fought with them when she was handed over to the school’s disciplinary committee.

    Ssekaana said, “The school should be given a benefit of doubt in exercise of its disciplinary powers against the student until the Court finds otherwise. The rights of the applicant against the entire school community should be a factor to consider and the likely danger of the applicant returning to the school and the entire school atmosphere in such circumstances.

    “In result for the reasons stated herein above, this is hereby dismissed and the costs shall abide the outcome of the main cause. It is so ordered.”

    The hearing of the main suit is still ongoing.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    EDUCATION

    MPs Propose Sign language To Be Adopted In Schools…

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    Members of Parliament have proposed that Sign language should be adopted and integrated in most of the schools.

    During plenary today which was presided over by Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, MPs noted that it can be done by increasing sign language teachers and ensuring that children are introduced to sign language at early stages of learning.

    The decision follows the upcoming commemoration of International Deaf Awareness week scheduled to take place between 19th to 23rd September 2022.

    The celebrations for the International Deaf Awareness week will be held at Iganga Municipal Primary School grounds, in Iganga Municipality, on Friday 23rd September 2022.

    According to the 2014 Uganda National Housing and Population statistics, there were over 1,083,649 deaf people in Uganda.

    “This has since increased to 1,290,000 of the current Uganda’s population,” Asamo said.

    State Minister for disabilities, Allen Asamo said that the International Deaf Awareness Week draws attention to the accomplishments of people who are deaf, raises awareness of their unique needs and also promotes their human rights.

    “During this week, state and non-state actors publicize many activities and informational campaigns to educate people about deafness and hearing loss,” she explained.

    She added that the International Deaf Awareness Week seeks to increase awareness about deaf persons, their challenges, and their culture.

    “It helps in motivating the community to learn and appreciate the importance of sign language, address grievances, and promote the human rights of deaf persons.”

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    EDUCATION

    Ministry Of Education Sets Strict Rules On Nursing Course; Bans Admitting Nurses Below 18 Years…

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    Minister Muyingo addressing nurses who graduated yeaterday

    Ministry of Education has set strict rules on the nursing course and banned admissions of nurses below 18 years.

    During the release of the 2022 nurses and midwives examinations results at the Office of the President yesterday, State Minister for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo announced that government has banned nursing and wives institutions across the country from admitting students below the age of 18.

    Muyingo noted that all institutions should adhere to the set minimum standards and observe the set age limit.

    “They should admit only adults above the age of 18 because only adults should work in health centres, not children,” he added.

    He further asked institutions to respect the capacity of learners requirement set by the ministry.

    “Those who want to start nursing and midwifery institutions must first get the licenses and should respect the capacity. If you are licensed to admit only 500 learners, you should not exceed that,” he maintained.

    Muyingo also asked the Permanent Secretary of the ministry to enforce this and apprehend administrators who will defy it.

    According to the executive secretary of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board (UNMEB), Ms. Helen Mukakarisa, the reason why children below 18 years have been banned is because expectant mothers in hospitals have been complaining and were not comfortable with children taking care of them.

    “As a profession, we cannot take children of 16 years. Mothers won’t respect them so ethically, we need to admit learners above the age of 18,” Ms Mukakarisa said.

    She added, “Those learners who will complete Senior Four before turning 18 will have to wait until they reach the required age to apply for courses.

    Efforts to speak to the State Minister for Education, Muyingo were however futile as he did not pick up our calls.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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