“It’s Government’s responsibility to explore all possible ways in which
it can meet its commitment to Education while still maintaining macro-Economics
stability” says James Twehayo the National vice chairperson of Uganda National Teachers
Union (UNATU).
While many public servants in
Uganda seem to be comfortable with their salaries, the teachers on the other
hand are asking Government to increase their salary by 100%. This demand for
salary rise comes in at a time when Uganda is experiencing Runaway
inflation currently rated at 18%. While it is true that all civil servants and
people in other professions are products of education, it is very unfortunate
that this category of very important people who contribute to the welfare of
the Nation by educating the masses is not being well taken care of.
I was privileged to speak to Ms.
Teopista Birungi Mayanja, the General Secretary of Uganda National teachers Union
(UNATU) and a board member of Education International to find out why the
teachers want to lay down their tools if their demands for Salary rise are
not fulfilled by the Government of Uganda.
What is UNATU?
Uganda National Teachers Union
(UNATU) was registered in March 2003 following a merger between Uganda Nationa
Teachers Association(UTA) and Uganda National union of teachers (UNUT). UNATU
is a statutory Organisation registered under the trade Union Act. Currently,
the Union has 80,000 registered memebers out of an approximate potential of
160,000 teachers on Governmant payroll. 
It is affiliated to Education Internaional and
Pan African teachers Centre-PATC
Ms. Birungi emphasised that the theme of UNATU strategic plan is “Teachers
and Quality education, the strategy for change” and that’s why the focus is on
the role of teachers to offer quality public education.  She said that 
this is achieved through 5 strategic areas of intervention:
·        Teacher’s development which mainly focuses on
professionalism and welfare of teachers
     Enhancing access to Quality education for the
children where Access Verses Quality. Much as it is Government’s policy to
increase on the number of children accessing education, it’s also important to
consider the quality of education in terms of content and output.
     Responding to socio-economic and development
issues that affect education like Gender, Nutrition and conflict.  Specifically attending to the role of female
teachers through the Gender and Women empowerment program as well as ‘Support
Education of girls’ programs. This is achieved through trainings, awareness
creation and development of  mobilization skills.
Ms Teopista Birungi Mayanja UNATU General Secretary at her office -Teachers house building, Bombo Rd.

Is there any Role that Civil Society Organisations are playing?

She says that Civil society
Movements are still lacking in this noble cause; it’s important for different
groups and stake holders like parents, churches, tax payer and children to come
together and raise their voices towards national development issues like this
one, because directly or indirectly, it affects each one of us. The government
of Uganda needs to make a lot of reforms especially in the Public service pay.
She also adds that the teachers’ strike is not only about Salary rise but
the general welfare of all teachers in Uganda whose role towards sustainable
development cannot be ignored.

To the children, learners and
Youth, please do understand the issues related to learning and act now.
To Tax payers, please take p your
To Government institutions; It’s
not only the president who represents government. The president is a team
leader or captain but there is a bigger team which include parliament,
ministries and other institutions. Give priority to National development
through human resource development. Do not postpone implementation of policies
that support the education system to avoid sacrificing the learners within a
given regime.
And the elite parents who think
that they can take their children to private/ international schools and have
them admitted to University, must understand that these children cannot work in
isolation in future, so the  majority of
the masses who did not get a similar opportunity will always “pull” them down
because they  will work with them in
future.  Teachers’ working conditions are our issues, what we do to the teachers
is what we choose to put to our children” says Teopista.
  • Hi Maureen,
    Just had a look at your blog – I like it!
    For the Young Leaders Academy blog, I always look for great content. Would you like to publish a guest post on it? Could be a post you already wrote, or a new one with a specific topic. If you are interested, please let me know. Also if I can do anything else to support your blog.
    All the best

  • Thank you so much for this kind feedback Hans. Sure, I would be interested in contributing to the Young Leaders Academy blog.
    And yes, I surely do need help with my blog. Lots of tips on lots of this.