Nakaseke, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nakaseke District is stuck with 27 teachers who are incapable of teaching over suspected mental and other chronic illness.
Some of them have been down with cancer, AIDS, mental illnesses and a combination of ailments that have made them unable to teach, according to a report by the Chairperson of Nakaseke Education Committee Juliet Diana Nassimbwa.
The report didn’t name the affected teachers nor their schools but URN has established that the affected schools include Lukese Modern, Mayirikiti, Butiikwa and Kyetume Tokyika Primary Schools, where a number of classes have been unattended to as the teacher’s battled illness.
It is reported that the head teachers in some of the affected schools, stopped the teachers from continuing with lessons after noticing uncoordinated communication with learners. However, they are still retained as school staff, on payroll and still access the school premises when they want.
A number of Head teachers who preferred anonymity told URN that the schools have resolved to hire private teachers to conduct lessons that would otherwise be delivered by the ill teachers at an extra cost.
However, Nakaseke district councillors have question why it has taken long for the authorities to retire the teachers and fill the vacant positions in the schools. Benjamin Makanga, the District councillor for Nakaseke Sub County says that the learners shouldn’t miss studies because a teacher is incapacitated.
Disan Lwanga, the District Councilor for Kiwoko town says that the bureaucratic procedure for retiring and replacing such teachers have put the education of learners at stake.
Samuel Bigirwa Kaliisa, the Deputy Nakaseke Chief Administrative Officer confirms the cases but says there is a long procedure for retiring the affected teachers which they must follow to avoid unnecessary litigation.
Bigirwa explains that the local government is awaiting a decision of the Uganda Medical Board on the fate of 12 teachers, health workers and other staff whose particulars were submitted for a pronouncement on their inability to perform their duties. He says that until the pronouncement is made, there can be no action by the district.
Bigirwa adds that Butabika Hospital recommended that three other affected teachers be retained at work as therapy and warned that retiring them may complicate their illness. He, however, noted that they have advised the schools and other affected institutions to assign more duties to those who are healthy as a process of replacing those who are ill is followed.
In 2017, a teacher suspected to be mentally ill turned violent and stoned his fellow teachers at Lukese Modern Primary School leaving one critically injured. He also chased pupils from classes. The female teacher was later arrested by Police and detained briefly at Nakaseke Police Station before released.
The Uganda Public Standing Orders allow a civil servant to retire on medical grounds if the medical board finds that the person is incapable of discharging the duties and if such illness is likely to be permanent.