“The bureaucracies are leading to the delay. For instance, at first, we were told to form SACCOs, as we concluded they said that we form associations. Months later they started new ones (associations) right from the school to national level,” Mwamula complained.
As private school teachers come to terms with the second
school closure, there is uncertainty on the long-awaited COVID-19 relief funds
promised by the government.
About a year ago, the government announced a
revolving fund worth Shillings 20billion to support private teachers whose
livelihoods were disrupted by the nationwide lockdown in March last year as
part of the COVID-19 containment measures.
promised to release the money a few weeks to help the teachers overcome the
effects of the lockdown. However, almost a year after, the money has remained
elusive with many people wondering whether it will ever serve the intended
Juma Mwamula, the General Secretary of Uganda National
Private Teachers Union, says some bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education and
Sports have frustrated their efforts to pursue the money.
are leading to the delay. For instance, at first, we were told to form SACCOs,
as we concluded they said that we form associations. Months later they started new
ones (associations) right from the school to national level,” Mwamula
In the earlier arrangement, the government
promised to channel the money to teacher’s SACCOs through the Microfinance
Support Centre-MSC. MSC had projected to disburse a maximum of Shillings
30million to each SACCO with 30 teachers.
the Microfinance Support Centre set tough
conditions like requiring the SACCOs to present a two-year record of audited
books yet most of them had just been created. Looking for an alternative, the
Finance Ministry relocated the money to the Ministry of Education.
Hasadu Kirabira, a private teacher and
administrator, who was once at the helm of the Ministry of Education led
steering committee, says that although the Education Ministry was expected to
execute this fast, things become more uncertain over time.
“During our first meeting, the first lady
(minister of education) wanted us to disburse the money in a week. However,
several members of the committee prolonged the process arguing that we had to
get a fund manager,” Kirabira said.
He says that two entities including Centenary Bank and Walimu
Sacco- were suggested but before one was selected, technocrats in the ministry
raised concern on uncoordinated private teachers suggesting re-organizing them
in a new formal structure.
From around September to January, the Ministry
through district education officers started creating associations to get an
apex body that led to the birth of the National Private School Teachers
However, six months later, the ministry is yet to finalize
the process. Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry notes
that with the apex body in place, the ministry is now working with it to get a
suitable fund manager to disburse the money.
//Cue in; “We have just...
Cue out...fund manager,”//
On the contrary, Hamid Nambaale, an Executive
member of the National Private School Teachers’ Association, says before the
second school closure they had suggested that Walimu Sacco takes the lead and
wonder why the ministry insists on searching for a fund manager.
//Cue in; “then and now…..
Cue out...telling me,”//
However, a source from the Ministry of Education,
says that the authorities had earlier ruled out Walimu Sacco basing on their
"They cannot allow Walimu Sacco to take on the task. For a fact,
this entity is still under investigation over mismanaging funds,” the source