Uganda Teachers Mourn World Teachers’ Day

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Ugandan primary school teachers hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration  in a protest against the government's failure to increase their salaries in an earlier strike.
Ugandan primary school teachers hold banners and shout slogans during a demonstration in a protest against the government’s failure to increase their salaries in an earlier strike.

As teachers gather to celebrate World Teachers Day, Kabale district teachers are using the day to mourn because of the treatment they suffer at the hands of government.

The teachers resolved under their umbrella association Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) Kabale chapter to mark October 5 as a day of mourning. October 5 is World Teacher’s Day.

The 2013 World Teachers Day is themed, “A Call to Teachers.”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) celebrations will focus on UNESCO’s work on quality teachers for global citizenship and cultural diversity.

UNATU’s Kabale district chairperson Zadoka Tumuhimbise says teachers in Uganda do not have reason to celebrate the day. He says the teachers resolved to stay at home and mourn the plight of teachers and the declining standards of education in the nation.

Tumuhimbise worries for the future of Ugandan children whose education has been placed in jeopardy by the failure to look after the teachers’ interests.

Tumuhimbise says teachers are fed up of being lied to by the Ministry of Education despite years of patience.

Junction Primary School head-teacher Joy Turyagyenda still finds it hard to believe how far the status of teachers has fallen in society.

Kigezi High School teacher Denis Twine agrees that the day is for mourning because clearly the teacher has little value in Uganda. Or at least is treated as of little value.

Silver Tibesigwa, a teacher at St.Mary’s College Rushoroza, feels deeply betrayed by the government’s treatment.

He says marking World Teacher’s Day in Uganda would be a waste of time as the government does not care about their welfare.

At the beginning of the third term teachers across the country laid down their tools and stayed at home for the first two weeks demanding a 20% salary increment agreed upon with government.

The teachers returned to work before getting the increment. They threaten to resume the strike on November 10 if government does not resolve the pay dispute.

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