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Parliament asks education minister to intervene in lecturers strike

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has tasked the Ministry of Education intervened in the on-going strike by academic staff at all public universities.

The lecturers laid down tools on February 6 due to the non-payment of their salary enhancement arrears by the government which date back to 2015 when President Yoweri Museveni made the promise to increase salaries of teaching staff in public universities.

The government then resolved to implement the increment in a phased manner for five years by in the financial year 2020/2021, only 50 billion Shillings was released for Professors and Associate Professors. Funds for lecturers have not been released to date.

The industrial action came just a few days after universities like Makerere and Kyambogo resumed online teaching of final year and continuing students since the closure of educational institutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Deus Kamunyu, the Chairperson of Forum for Academic Staff Association in Public Universities (FAPSU), the lectures want 129.2 billion Shillings released for their enhancement. 

On Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga told MPs about her meeting with the executive committee members of the Uganda National Student’s Association (UNSA) regarding the industrial action by lecturers in public universities.

She said that the strike by lecturers has been on for one month and that the situation needed urgent intervention from the Ministry of Education to ensure that students are attended to.

Opposition Chief Whip, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that a strike by lecturers shows that the government has not prepared its self properly regarding the handling of the education sector during the Covid-19 period.

He reminded Speaker Kadaga of an earlier petition from teachers who taught on Television during the lockdown on their outstanding pay. Kadaga said that the petition had been forwarded to the Minister of Education and that no response had been provided to Parliament. She tasked the Minister of State for Primary Education, Rosemary Sseninde to explain the industrial action by lecturers and the outstanding payment of teachers who conducted classes via Television during the Covid-19 lockdown.

In response, Sseninde told Parliament that the Education Ministry had received information regarding the industrial action by lecturers. She however appealed for more time to allow her Ministry to present a statement on the floor of parliament.

Regarding the outstanding pay for teachers’ services during the lockdown, Sseninde said that these had been paid and that they would investigate complaints about non-payment and report back.

Kadaga directed that the Minister presented a statement on Tuesday next week.

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