There is growing uncertainty and confusion
among private school teachers about the proposed teacher’s Relief Fund. Whereas
many teachers are still green about the development, several others are holding
endless meetings trying to figure out how they can benefit from the funds, which
are meant to offer them relief because of the Covid19 lockdown.
In his last national address on Covid19,
President Yoweri Museveni promised to inject Shillings 2 billion in Private Teacher’s
Savings and Credit Cooperative Society-SACCO. He directed the Finance Ministry preferably
through the Microfinance Support Center to appropriate to allocate Shillings 20
billion to the same SACCO to allow teachers to access loans, which they will
service once schools resumes.
Private schools teachers who are estimated
to be around 350,000 welcomed the move since they have been struggling to
survive. Unlike their counterparts in public education institutions, private
school teacher seems to be disorganized without formal structures. As a result, the teachers have started forming
uncoordinated groups based on their geographical locations, work stations and
old students’ association to tap into the money.
Josephine Ndagire, a teacher in Masaka notes
that she has been seeing collogues in different schools rushing to form SACCOs
even though the education ministry and finance haven’t come up with clear
guidelines on how the funds will be handled.
“Everyone is desperate and needs this money. We
have had staff saving groups but most of them were not registered and now every
group seems to be rushing to form a SACCO. Here in Masaka, the said funds are
the talk in all teachers’ circles. SACCOs are being formed, as we wait to see
what comes next,” Ndagire told Uganda Radio Network.
The situation isn’t any different in Iganga,
Jinja, and Mityana districts. Suzan Alum, a private school teacher in Iganga
district notes that private teachers have been so disunited given their working
conditions but they have started establishing district associations and SACCOs.
//Cue in: “In a move...
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Godlive Baguma, a private school teacher in
Kampala says although he would like to benefit from the arrangement and payback
when schools resumes, he has failed to assess the right information and is soon
in: “sirina ntekateka yonna...
Cue out...Ku sente.”//
John Galambi, the former Director of Studies at the defunct
Najjera Primary School is puzzled on how he and others who have already lost
their jobs can access the said funds.
He notes that he was told that the loans
are intended to benefit hitherto active teachers who will be backed up by their
respective head teachers or directors that they will be able to service the
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Cue out...that sacco before.”//
Several organizations and groups have also started positioning
themselves to manage the funds on behalf of the beneficiaries. Uganda
Private Teachers’ Union, which is under the leadership of Juma Mwamula is one
of them. However, the union, whose leadership has started traversing various
parts of the country to organise the teachers so that the money is channeled
through them, is unknown to most of them.
Mwamula notes that the union is ready to manage
the funds and eliminate masqueraders.
//Cue in: “Discussions are ongoing...
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Patrick Kaboyo, the National Secretary Federation of
Non-State Education Institutions FENEI notes that the Covid-19 nation committee
of directors of private schools and institutions discussed the matter during
their meeting with the Education and Finance ministers last week and suggested
that the money be channeled through Non-State teachers and directors SACCO.
Kaboyo says that although teachers might form
their school-based SACCOs, they may become members of district SACCOs, which
will in turn borrow from the national body.
//Cue in: “To avoid ghosts...
Cue out...to give guidelines.”//
But teachers also feel that school proprietors
and managers might be scheming to own the fund. Alum warns that this will also
pose challenges given the past relationship between the two groups. “We work
for these school owners. We know their motives. Should money be sent to areas
where they can control it, they are likely to take the lion's share,” Alum