Uganda: 16 Teachers Demand Shs78 Million for TV, Radio Lessons

Sixteen teachers selected from across the country to conduct lessons on radio and television have not been paid facilitation fees since the programme started in March 2020.

In a petition filed to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, the teachers say government owes them Shs78 million accrued for a period of seven months. The teachers are for both secondary and primary levels.

After failed attempts to secure audience with the Education ministry, the petition states that the teachers have only received a small part of their pay.

"We write to you in an attempt to get justice and to be helped to get our unpaid allowance and transport reimbursement amounting to Shs78.3 million," the petition reads in part.

Correspondences seen by this newspaper indicate that the teachers have been going to different offices in pursuit of their payment.

In a November 11, 2020, letter to the Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, the teachers say government promised to pay Shs100,000 per day's lesson and a transport reimbursement of Shs100,00 per week.

Mr Jimmy Tugumisirize, one of the teachers, told Daily Monitor that the total bill amounted to Shs97.2 million.

After numerous attempts and a story by the Saturday Monitor, the ministry, in December 2020 wired, via the mobile money channel, Shs19.5 million.

"There was a little payment that came through mobile money. It was like a tenth, one of us did not get anything completely. Some who were expecting 12 million got two million, nobody even signed for it. We wrote to the minister again asking for the balance but it did not yield anything. We wrote a letter to meet her. We petitioned the Speaker, who wrote to the minister but it has not yielded anything," Mr Tugumisirize said.

The arrangement of media and virtual lessons was adopted to ensure continuity of learning following the closure of schools in March as the country took measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

The Education ministry was, through the Covid-19 education taskforce, to liaise with the broadcaster in all matters regarding conducting of radio and television programmes for the continuation of learning.

According to some teachers who didn't want to be mentioned, they were brought together and assigned the duties by the commissioner in charge of secondary education at the Ministry of Education, Mr Sam Kuloba.

"During the Covid-19 lockdown period from March to October 15, 16 of us were employed by the Ministry of Education through Commissioner of Secondary Education, Mr Sam Kulooba, on the directive of the minister of Education to teach the Ugandan primary and secondary children on both UBC TV and Radio, which we perfectly did in sometimes difficult circumstances," a letter to the Speaker states.

Demand for answers

The minister in charge of Primary Education, Ms Rosemary Seninde, who was tasked to explain to Parliament why the teachers have not been paid has given no answers and declined to comment on the issue, but referred us to the Permanent Secretary.

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Ms Alex Kakooza told Daily Monitor that the processes are ongoing to make the payment.

"My team is working on that. We are aware and we are working on it," Mr Kakooza said.

Mr Kakooza did not explain why the process has taken long, despite the teachers' numerous complaints.

Mr Tugumisirize said they stopped teaching in October.

In September, Mr Patrick Muinda, the ministry's spokesperson, explained that there was an arrangement between teachers and the ministry through the State broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two entities.

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