The Education Service Commission (ESC) has received instructions from the Ministry of Education to recruit more than 3,600 secondary school teachers before June this year.
Dr Asuman Lukwago, the ESC Secretary, told the Parliamentary Committee on Education yesterday that the Commission received submissions from Ministry of Education to recruit 3,600 teachers, but said the request came in late last year and they could not start the recruitment.
However, he said the recruitment process would be concluded before close of this financial year in June so that the successful candidates start getting their salaries.
"Everything that stalled last year was because of the Wage Bill. Our performance was affected by the Ministry's late submission of their requests to recruit teachers. The Ministry submitted to us in November the need to recruit more than 3,600 teachers in this financial year," Dr Lukwago told MPs on Tuesday.
Upper Madi County MP Isaac Joakino Etuuka noted that teachers continue to suffer with handling excess number of students than is recommended, which affects their efficiency and quality of teaching.
The MPs wondered why teachers who were recruited last year have not been confirmed even after serving the six-month probation.
"Public servants should not work without confirmation once they have served their probation. Unfortunately, some of them don't know these procedures," Dr Lukwago answered.
He added: "We learnt that the actual appointment of 2,500 teachers recruited last year had delayed. This affected their confirmation."
The MPs also observed that teachers with ill-health who have sought to retire on medical grounds have not been allowed and many have been deleted from the payroll because they are unable to teach.
In his report, Dr Lukwago regretted that only 12 male teachers had been retired on medical grounds. His response provoked the MPs to ask him if there were no sick female teachers who needed early retirement for medical reasons.
"Teachers have been so unfortunate. Some of them are so sick, but the Medical Board cleared only males," he said.
Workers MP Margaret Rwabushaija also pointed out failure by government to formalise status of all teachers in caretaker positions in some schools and added that this is affecting their performance.
"Many of these teachers have been caretakers for more than 10 years. They don't get allowances and their salaries remain the same. But they have been doing duties for head-teachers, and not recognised. They can't talk with authority to guide others and this should stop," Ms Rwabushaija said.
Dr Lukwago explained that the ministry's biggest recruitment last year was intended to address areas where there were no substantive head-teachers.
Prof Sam Luboga, the Commission chairman, appealed to the MPs to approve their request for Shs830m to complete procurement of an e-recruitment system that is expected to improve service delivery by eliminating carrying of hardcopy applications from various recruitment centres countrywide to the ESC headquarters for sorting.
The Commissioner for Human Resource in the Ministry of Education, Ms Jane Mwesiga, was cagey about how many teachers they need to address the manpower shortage in schools. She only said they were waiting for an advert from the ESC about the vacant teaching positions the ministry submitted to them.