Several primary school teachers in Nebbi District have made changes to their teaching schedules, avoiding afternoon classes due to concerns about potential arrests stemming from their alleged inability to repay loans secured from various financial institutions. These teachers, who borrowed from money lenders, microfinance institutions, Savings and Credits Cooperative Societies (SACCOS), and commercial banks, have faced difficulties in meeting their repayment obligations.
Cosmic Wumula, a teacher, points out that the situation is exacerbated by the proliferation of financial institutions in the district, which entice teachers to borrow at high interest rates. According to Consolate Among, a teacher at Nebbi Town Secondary School, the problem is a result of the current economic challenges and the increasing cost of living in the country.
Some head teachers informed Uganda Radio Network that the affected teachers now prefer to conduct early morning classes and leave the school premises before loan officers arrive. Lauretta Orochi, the vice-chairperson of Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) Nebbi Main Branch, attributes this practice to the government’s failure to prioritize teachers’ welfare. She emphasizes that teachers are compelled to obtain multiple loans to meet their families’ basic needs due to their meager salaries.
Raymond Ocokuru, a human resource officer at the district, advises civil servants, including teachers, to be cautious when borrowing loans and to stay within their financial means. He cautions teachers against taking loans for non-essential purposes, such as funding weddings and traditional marriage ceremonies.
Nebbi District, established in 1980, is home to 137 primary schools and 17 secondary schools, with a total of 1,600 teachers, according to records from the education department.