Education expert Jonathan Kivumbi raises 17 questions on salary disparities between sciences and humanities teachers, to give findings to First Lady, President

Following cabinet’s approval of the proposed salary enhancement for all scientists, on government pay roll, in the country, including teachers of sciences and all educators of sciences in tertiary institutions and university, my phone has been kept busy from the time the announcement was made by the Minister of ICT, Information, and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, at the Uganda Media Centre, on August 24, 2021, with many (if not all) of you asking for my take on the matter.

You will realize that this issue has been on for long, and I have already given my views on the same.

Please kindly, look out for the New Vision, dated Wednesday, May 2, 2018, and follow-up on my article, titled: PAY ARTS, SCIENCE TEACHERS, EQUAL PAY-for my viewpoints on the matter.

This article came up as a result of the President raising the matter, during the International Labour day celebrations, held in Mityana district, that year.

Find out what the President said exactly about the issue of salary enhancement, still in the New Vision of Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

According to today’s New Vision, the approved monthly pay for teachers of science subjects in secondary schools is shs. 4,000,000/-.

To, therefore, answer your queries in a more convincing manner, I have decided, to study the issue further, through issuing out an online questionnaire, in an effort to capture your views, as well, on this matter.

You are kindly urged to follow the questionnaire, and provide the necessary feedback, as requested, for, without any doubt, your submissions, will go a long way in guiding my next course of action, on this matter.

In your opinion, as an independent, and above all, objective observer, do you really think this is going to solve the problems of Uganda’s education, more so, at the secondary school and higher levels of learning?

Perhaps, to effectively answer this question, allow me provide you with a few other guiding questions. Your submissions will enable me come up with not only a comprehensive, but well-crafted write-up that I shall present to the President, and of course, the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, such that they take this decision, well-aware of its repercussions.

Rest assured, confidentiality is guaranteed. The questions are as follows:

(1) While scaling-up the monthly pay, for science teachers to shs. 4,000,000/-, as already indicated, is, undeniably, a move taken in the right direction, in your opinion, do you think, this is going to propel our education in the right direction, after government has decided to stay put, the salaries for teachers of arts and/or humanities?

(2) Don’t you think it would be worthwhile for government to pay all teachers doing the same work and with the same qualifications, equally, regardless of the subjects one is teaching, and only come in to create the discrepancies in pay, through provision of allowances to all these teachers, by the way, depending on the workload, and things like that?

A case in point, is teachers of natural sciences (Chemistry, Physics, and Biology), are required to conduct practicals; so, don’t you think, it would be worthwhile for government to maintain a uniform salary scale for all teachers as already mentioned, but peg an allowance to these practicals, thereafter?

For goodness, do you think, someone teaching Luganda, History, or Geography, will complain, or even envy their colleagues teaching any of the aforementioned subjects, for the allowance given unto them, for the extra work done?

Going by this arrangement, don’t you think, even teachers of English Language, who mark hundreds of thousands of books, moreover, on a daily basis, deserve an allowance for this kind of work, surely?

Of course, I have not mentioned their Maths counterparts, with whom they do the same work, simply because, the former (Mathematics teachers), unlike the latter (teachers of English Language), are part of the beneficiaries of the new salary structure.

(3) What subjects are we looking at in the science category? Are teachers of Foods and Nutrition and Agriculture, and Computer Science, for example, also part of the beneficiaries, of this latest salary enhancement, or the arrangement only caters for teachers of natural sciences and Mathematics?

(4) After government giving leverage to private schools, and, of course, the rest of the private education institutions, including universities, to pay their teachers and/or lecturers, the way they so wish, do you really think, at a time where the biggest percentage of our education, as a country, lies in the hands of the private sector, this arrangement is going to be of much help?

Precisely, aware of the fact that, even before the outbreak of CoViD-19, in Uganda, particularly, a number of private schools and education institutions, including universities, were paying their teachers/lecturers, using the piece-rate method, just as the case for casual workers, in your opinion, do you really think, the government decision to step-up the pay for all science educators, is going to solve the countless problems facing our education, as a country, after government leaving the capitalist (owners of private schools and education institutions, in general) to exploit their employees (more so, educators) to the bliss?

(5) What do you consider to be the lion in the room? Precisely, in your opinion, what do you think is the major problem adversely affecting the expected progress of Uganda’s education?

(6) Do you think, this arrangement is going to create harmony, amongst our educators, at their different places of work? Precisely, do you see a History, Geography, or Christian Religious Education (CRE) teacher, whose pay has been kept at six digits, working harmoniously with his/her colleague teaching Mathematics, or any of the natural science subjects, whose pay has been stepped-up to shs. 4,000,000/-?

(7) Now that teachers of natural sciences, and, of course, those of Mathematics, are going to earn far much more than their counterparts, including their supervisors [headteachers and deputies, more so], provided they (supervisors) are not teaching any of the aforementioned subjects [natural sciences and Mathematics], in your opinion, do think there shall be any meaningful monitoring, supervision, and evaluation, taking place, in school, surely?

Put differently, do you see a headteacher, or their deputy, earning far less than the person they are meant to supervise, executing their duties, as expected, surely?

(8) Is it because of poor pay, that all our, once popular and, of course, recognized secondary schools, in all aspects, have gone into oblivion? Perhaps, many of you might even have forgotten that in Uganda we still have schools like Gulu High School; Dr. Obote College; Boroboro College; Aboke Girls’ S. S; Mvara S.S; St. Joseph’s College, Ombachi; Ediofe Girls’ S.S., Comboni College, Sir Samuel Baker College, and many more, all situated in northern Uganda. How many of us actually know that schools like Teso College, Aloet; Manjansi High School; St. Peter’s College, Tororo; Tororo Girls’; Jinja College; Busoga College, Mwiri; Kiira College, Butiki; Wanyange Girls’ Nabumali High School, and Jinja S.S, and all those, once highly recognized schools, in the eastern part of the country, are still in existence, surely?

For goodness sake, is it really because of poor pay, more so, of teachers of sciences, as government wants us to believe, that schools such as Bweyeranyangi Girls’, a school that has produced hundreds of thousands of prominent people, in this country, and beyond, including our beloved First Lady and (current) Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, are now just schools in name, unlike before, surely?

What really happened to schools like Kyebambe Girls’; Nyakashura High School; St. Leo’s College, Kyegobe; Kigezi High School; Mary Hill; Sir Tito Owiny S.S, Masindi; Duhaga S.S., Hoima; Kabalega Secondary School; Mbarara High School; St. Mary’s College Rushoroza; St. Edwards S.S., Bukumi, and Ntare School (a school that has produced two sitting Presidents-Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, of Uganda, and Paul Kagame, of Rwanda), among others, surely? Does the public even know that these schools are still in existence, surely?

For goodness sake, do you want to believe, government’s conclusion, that all the aforementioned schools are literally DEAD, because the science teachers there are poorly remunerated, surely?

Even though the central region is currently considered to be the hub of Uganda’s education, all public schools, here are literally trailing behind private schools, in all aspects.

For heaven’s sake, in your opinion, do you think this has been brought about by the poor remuneration of teachers, particularly those of sciences, in all these schools?

How many of us know of schools like Kako S.S., Masaka, St. Kalemba S.S., Kayunga, and Kanjuki S.S., Kayunga, among others, surely?

(9) For goodness sake, is it because of poor pay, particularly, of the teachers of sciences, there, that schools like King’s College, Budo, Mt. St. Mary’s College, Namagunga, Gayaza High School, Trinity College, Nabbingo, St. Mary’s College, Kisubi, and Ndejje S.S., Gombe S.S., Kibibi S.S., St. Henry’s College, Kitovu, Kawempe Muslim S.S., Makerere College School, including my beloved Kyambogo College School, among other schools, are trailing all these hitherto unknown, mushrooming private schools, surely?

Of course, needless to mention any of their names, because I am convinced beyond doubt, you all know the schools I am talking of, here.

(10) After government, specifically failing out, OUTRIGHTLY, on one of its core duties of monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of performance, for both public and private schools, of course, do you think, stepping-up the pay for teachers of sciences in public secondary schools, and leaving the status quo, with specific regard to monitoring, supervision, and evaluation (anciently referred to as inspection), as cited here, stay put, the number of medical doctors, engineers, of all sorts, and scientists, in general, in our country, is going to increase 10-fold, or so, by the end of this decade?

Precisely, do you think raising the pay for teachers of sciences, and leaving schools do things their way, as is the case today, as a country, we shall get the expected benefits?

(11) And with ministers, commissioners, district education officers (DEOs), district inspectors of schools (DISs), headteachers and teachers, and several other government officials, including those employed by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoE&S), directly, openly operating schools of their own, in your opinion, do you really think, the government’s decision to pay teachers of sciences, in excess of their arts counterparts, is going to fix the problem?

I got shocked, when someone, reliably told me last week, that there are some officials in the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), that are operating private schools, as well. Hmmmmmmmmm!

(12) Despite the fact that government no longer sponsors students taking education in any of its universities, with a bias in arts/humanities, it has continually maintained these subjects, on the curriculum.

In your opinion, don’t you think it is worthwhile for government to completely do away with these subjects, and we only focus at sciences, after all, according to government, it appears like growth and development of any economy, are only propelled by science disciplines?

So, in your opinion, who do you think government expects to train the teachers of arts/humanities? As government, how do you DELIBERATELY REFUSE to train teachers of History, Geography, and CRE, for example, but, at the same time, continue maintaining these subjects, on your national curriculum?

(13) Don’t you think, the discriminative issue of salary enhancement, is going to escalate the vice of examinations malpractice? Remember, examinations malpractice, like I have always put it, is a process, and not an event, like UNEB wants us to believe.

A decline, or even a complete stoppage of examinations leakage, does not, in anyway, imply that examinations malpractice, does not exist. Believe it, or not; take it, or leave it, there are so many other ways in which examinations malpractice, manifests itself, majority (if not all) of which are even MORE DEADLY than the leakage of exams, truthfully speaking. In your opinion, therefore, don’t you really think, this new arrangement of salary enhancement, is going to breed even newer avenues of examinations malpractice, surely?

(14) Do you think this new arrangement of salary enhancement, that is going to see teachers of sciences, take home, a total sum of shs. 4,000,000/-, while their counterparts of arts/humanities, have their pay remain unchanged, is going to propel the new curriculum, at the lower secondary school level, which has already faced a lot of challenges, in its implementation, in the right direction, surely?

Precisely, do you you see us, as a country, yielding the expected results, from this curriculum, with this latest pay design of teachers, in the shortest period, possible-say, before the end of this decade?

(15) After government forcing sciences at the lower secondary school level, onto the learners, an arrangement, that has since then, seen every Fred, Jona, and Nike, study sciences, do you really think, the pay rise for these science teachers is going to solve the many problems, brought about by this, arrangement?

For goodness sake, from which part of the world did government benchmark this highly questionnable arrangement?

Precisely, do you really think, with the shs. 4,000,000/-, a teacher of Chemistry, or Physics, is now going to make a total of, say 300, 400, or 500 students, all excel in these subjects, surely?

In your opinion, don’t you think, time is ripe for government to review this policy, which, undeniably has, since its inception TOTALLY FAILED to enable us, as a country, reap, as expected, surely?

(16) Is government aware that, there are teachers whose teaching subjects lie between sciences/maths and arts; consider an example of someone teaching both Geography and Mathematics; Mathematics and Economics; Mathematics and Luganda; Physics and Economics, and so on.

So, in this regard, how are such teachers going to be attended to, in relation to the already approved salary enhancement, by cabinet, of course?

Honestly speaking, there are so many unanswered questions surrounding this whole arrangement of salary enhancement; the list can neither be exhausted today, or tomorrow, for, as already stated, the questions are many, indeed. However, in the meantime, I pray we attend to the ones, so far raised, and attend to the rest, along the way.

(17) Does this arrangement also take into consideration, my Primary Three (P.3) Science teacher, as well? Precisely, are teachers, teaching both Science and Mathematics, at the primary school level, also going to benefit from the latest salary enhancement, approved by cabinet? And if this is the case, aware of the fact that teachers at this level don’t specialize during training, don’t you think the rest of the subjects, at this level are going to be unattended to, as everyone shall now be rushing in to teach Science and/or Mathematics, regardless?

Please kindly, feel free to attend to any question of your choice/interest, since this is not an exam, or even a research exercise for an exam. Without any doubt, as already mentioned, your feedback, here will go a long way, in enabling me present the President, including the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, with not only a comprehensive, but well-crafted write-up. I beg to submit.

Please be reminded that, the decision taken by government to step-up the pay for teachers of sciences, has been long overdue, a clear indication that it is a decision taken in the right direction. However, we need to look at the gaps, therein, as cited above, to ensure that the whole arrangement, does not turn out to be a boomerang.

Jonathan Kivumbi Educationist-communication and language skills analyst. 0770880185 (WhatsApp 0702303190) [email protected]



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