Uganda: Parliament Tasks Government to Bail Out Teachers

Parliament has asked the government to table an action plan to help teachers from private schools during the lockdown as the President had directed.

President Museveni on June 22 directed that private education institutions together with other businesses like salons which have been affected by the lockdown be registered so that government supports them to survive.

During yesterday's plenary sitting chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the Kasambya County MP, Mr Gaffa Mbwatekamwa, demanded that government give an explanation as to why teachers in private education institutions continue to suffer despite the promise by the President.

"Yesterday we saw teachers and proprietors of private schools stage a strike in Masaka District. Why is this Presidential directive not being implemented? I pray that you direct the Minister of Education and the Minister of Finance to come here and explain how far they have reached on that matter," Mr Mbwatekamwa said.

The secretary general of Uganda Teachers Association, Mr Filbert Buguma, said most teachers in private schools were last paid in February.

"The teachers who are asking for government help are right. We are aware of their situation and we beg government to come and bail out these teachers. Most of them are sleeping in rented houses and they have families to feed. Their situation is not good at all," Mr Baguma said.

Mr Patrick Kaboyo, the national secretary of the Federation for Non-State Education Institutions said they are aware of this situation and they have registered about 3,000 teachers who have gone without salaries since the closure of schools.

"We are nationally working on the list for all those teachers. The directors of schools shared with us those lists and we are going to complete this exercise before the end of this week. We shall present this list to the government so that they can deliver some relief to them," Mr Kaboyo said.

However, when asked yesterday whether there is any financial package put aside to support the private schools and other businesses affected, State Minister for Microfinance, Mr Haruna Kasolo said the Ministry of Finance was not "aware of the Presidential directive".

None of the Ministers of Education and Sports was present in the House yesterday but the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Ms Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, contradicted Mr Kasolo by confirming that her ministry was already responding to the directive for the case of the businesses that follow under it.

"It is true that on June 22, the President did air out that there will be an activity to look into their (private institutions and other businesses) needs. For the side of our Ministry, two meetings have been held and we will come back here to update the House" she said.

Ms Kadaga then directed the Clerk to invite Education Minister Janet Museveni to come and address Parliament on the progress of implementing the Presidential directive on aiding private education institutions.

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