World Teachers Day: The State Of Teachers In Uganda

In 1994, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed 5th October to be World Teachers’ Day, celebrating the great step made for teachers on 5 October 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, in cooperation with the ILO.

This recommendation sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.

World Teachers’ Day 2016 at UNESCO HQ will also include the ceremony of the Hamdan Prize awards and a seminar with the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART) experts.

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Meanwhile, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) officials have urged teachers to stay away from class and celebrate the day. However this goes against the directive by the Ministry of Education.

The organisation has been addressing the issue of teachers’ wage to the government with minimal success. Back in June, the budgetary speech allocated an increment in teachers’ salaries from UGX 425,000 to UGX 460,000 after tax. However, the teachers felt the increment was rendered useless by inflationary pressures.

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By comparison, Kenyan teachers are not only the best paid in East Africa, but also earn almost 12 times more than the country’s average pay.

The highest-paid Kenyan teacher earns almost 12 times more than the average pay in Kenya, while the highest-paid teacher in Uganda is paid double the average income of a Ugandan.

Even at the lowest income level, Kenyan teachers earn wages that are at least 44 per cent above the average wage, while their Ugandan peers earn 35 per cent more.

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Kenya’s highest-paid teachers earn a maximum annual salary of KES 1,672,200 (UGX 55.182 million), while Uganda has a low maximum annual salary of UGX 5.52 million. The average teacher pay in Tanzania was at KES 190,000 (UGX 6.27 million) per year.

UNATU officials also dismissed findings of a 2015 report carried out by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), which indicated that 8 out of every 10 primary school teachers could neither read or solve primary level mathematics.

Members of UNATU accuse UNEB of spreading false information.  But UNEB maintains that its research was accurate.

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