Kasese District Local Government officials are expressing worry as 76 teachers have submitted requests for early retirement over the past three months. The concern revolves around the potential impact on teacher availability in the district.
Mr. Eriab Begumya Ntarwete, the Kasese deputy chief administrative officer, expressed his confusion about the trend, stating, “We are crying for more teachers in our schools, and yet others are seriously running away from service.” District officials have reached out to the Ministry of Public Service, urging them to maintain a list of reserve teachers to address any potential shortages.
The acting Kasese District Education Officer, Mr. Ernest Bwambale Thabugha, attributes the trend to low self-esteem among teachers and emphasizes the need for mindset change to instill pride in the teaching profession.
Various challenges, including illnesses, were mentioned by Ms. Everline Kabugho, a teacher at Bulighisa Primary School, as potential factors prompting individuals to consider early retirement.
Mr. Johnson Kule, an educationist in Kasese Town, highlighted salary discrepancies as a factor, stating, “The government has been promising to increase teachers’ salaries for a long time but nothing has been done.” He pointed out the disparity in salary increments between secondary school science teachers and their primary school counterparts as a source of discontent.
Mr. Joshua Bwambale, the chairperson of Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) in Kasese Municipality, emphasized the unfavorable working conditions as a significant reason for teachers resigning early.
The recent directive from the Ministry of Education, compelling all teachers to pursue further studies without a clear plan for financial support, was criticized by Mr. Bwambale, who questioned the logic of mandating additional education without corresponding pay increases.
Former teachers who opted for early retirement shared their perspectives. Mr. Daneri Kule, who dedicated 24 years to teaching, chose early retirement to focus on personal projects due to insufficient income. Another retiree, Mr. Julius Muhindo, retired at the age of 45 after 23 years in the classroom, citing a lack of career progression opportunities within the education field.