President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the Ministry of Education and Sports to establish a clear scheme of service for teachers. This scheme will define how teachers can advance in their careers and how they will be compensated.
The President made this announcement while responding to Vincent Elong, the Chairperson of the Uganda Professional Science Teacher’s Union. Elong emphasized that a structured scheme could enhance teacher compensation, incentives, and motivation, ultimately leading to better teacher performance.
He pointed out that many teachers face career stagnation in the education sector, regardless of their qualifications or experience.
President Museveni used the Foreign Affairs Service as an example, where individuals can start with a lower grade and gradually progress. He suggested implementing a similar system for teachers to facilitate their career advancement.
The President delivered these remarks at the Kololo ceremonial ground, where teachers gathered to celebrate World Teachers’ Day. The theme for the event was “The teachers we require for the education we aspire to: The global urgency to address the shortage of educators.”
Currently, there is no clear path for teachers to advance in their careers once they become classroom teachers, even if they improve their qualifications. Promotion typically only occurs when a teacher becomes a deputy headteacher or headteacher, which is not feasible for everyone.
Alex Musaazi, a social studies teacher from Wakiso district, explained that the absence of such a mechanism has discouraged many teachers from pursuing higher academic qualifications.
Musaazi also mentioned that teachers who invest in further education are frustrated because their salaries are tied to their teaching levels rather than their qualifications.
President Museveni expressed surprise that this issue had been raised in a meeting with Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) leaders back in 2011, suggesting that his advice at the time may have been disregarded.
Margaret Rwabushaij, former UNATU chairperson and currently a Workers’ Member of Parliament, stated that promises to address this issue by the Ministry of Education had not been fulfilled, leaving the problem unresolved.
The current scheme of service under discussion was initially formulated in 2005 by the Education Service Commission but has been on hold. Efforts to promote primary teachers were initiated in the 2009/2010 Financial Year but were subsequently suspended.
Regarding the issue of housing, Elong highlighted how it negatively affects teacher performance. He proposed two solutions: providing a special housing grant to assist teachers in building better houses or constructing staff quarters on school premises.
President Museveni dismissed the idea of individual houses for teachers but agreed on the need for housing, emphasizing institutional solutions.
Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni acknowledged the importance of addressing the housing issue and mentioned their commitment to including staff housing in new projects.
This year’s Teachers’ Day celebration had a smaller attendance compared to previous years, with the UNATU group notably absent. Science teachers expressed gratitude for promised salary increases, and the President assured that all teachers would receive raises as more funds became available.
During the event, UNICEF recognized and awarded six teacher trainers with laptops for their exceptional contributions to the teaching profession. The President also pledged additional funding for teachers’ unions’ savings and credit cooperative societies (SACCOS).