It is interesting that the government reported that teachers had called off the strike, while the head of the teachers' union, James Tweheyo, said the strike had been suspended for 28 days, and not called off.
Whatever the actual agreement, it is dangerous for the government to think of and treat strikes as an unpatriotic act. Ugandan workers have every right to industrial action in full pursuance of their rights, and that is every bit patriotic.
The teachers had raised the plight of their pay for almost two years and in my view, they were patient with government, even agreeing to a phased increment of their salaries.
It was government that acted quite highhandedly when it failed to keep its promise and instead resorted to threatening teachers with sacking, if they did not go back to school.
What kind of schools were these teachers being sent back to?
This year, I had the opportunity to visit two schools in two very different locations - one was my former primary school here in Kampala and a school in Kamwezi sub-county, Kabale district.
At both schools, I had the occasion to speak with the head teachers to get a general sense of how things were going. Both schools had not received the School Facility grant and the UPE capitation grant, which are supposed to enable them run their schools.
In Kabale, because the teachers had not been paid for some time, the head teacher told me he was sure that when the rains came, his teachers would not come to school because they would first have to till their gardens, in order to make sure their families had food.
He also told me that the school had to conduct mock exams on credit, i.e. they had to borrow paper from the local stationery supplier, promising to pay if when they got money from government.
In Kampala, apparently, the issues of the School Facility grant are 'political' and head teachers can get into trouble for raising the subject of government's non-remittance of this money. Head teachers thus generally keep quiet and try to manage 'somehow'.
These are the same schools that government was forcing teachers to go back to - schools that it does not adequately fund to run. Not only did government renege on an earlier promise to increase teacher's salaries; it does not always remit the money it should to help schools in this country run normally.
To focus only on the teacher side of things is to miss the big picture about government's attitude towards education in Uganda. Government largely concentrated on the quantity side of things - UPE, USE and liberalising tertiary education, but it failed to adequately address the quality question.
We often grapple with the issue of the huge school dropout rates and we frequently point to poverty, child labour or the poor attitude of parents toward school, to explain it away. But could the high dropout rates be majorly due to the judgment both parents and learners have made about the quality of education they are getting?
Why send a child to a school that is far away, that lacks basic scholastic and teaching materials, a school that is largely inaccessible to children with disability, and a whole host of other quality issues?
Merely filling spaces called 'schools' with children and forcing poorly-paid teachers to teach these children does not cut it. Neither can a good education only be measured against the enrolment numbers, or the numbers of first grades at P.7, UCE and A-level.
It is important that government takes the education of Ugandan children seriously. Addressing teachers' salaries is one way to show that the government is serious about the education of children in Uganda.
But government cannot stop there. It needs to recommit itself to promote the kind of education that is meaningful, worthwhile, and responsive to individual and societal needs, as well as ensuring that such an education is accessible to each and every child.
So, even as the teachers go back to the business of teaching (for now), the government has to do more than just find money to increase their salaries.
It must also find the money to provide quality education in all its fullness. The author is a civil society activist.