I wish to take this opportunity to thank our fellow brother Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga, a colleague of the same profession, Member of Parliament of Kalungu West above all, a teachers’ die heart who disagreed with the recent directive from the Ministry of Education and Sports about tasking teachers to upgrade to degrees in order to keep in the teaching profession. Mr. Muyingo himself knows very well what teachers go through in Uganda, but he rather works to please devil Museveni and his useless Minister of education, a wife to the dictator. I want to repeat in this article what brother Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga emphasized “He is not against teachers getting degrees. But it is not the degrees that determine how a teacher teaches” It is very unfortunate to find academic doctors in Uganda who reason like primary one kids. That is why they always rub shoulders with the dictator who has ruined our system of education since he became a president of a country which he is NOT supposed to rule being a foreigner from Rwanda. Mr. Muyingo has lost a sense of direction since he is working for dictator Museveni, yet he is aware that Museveni doesn’t want Ugandans to receive the quality of education they deserve.
Being a teacher, I totally agree with Mr. Ssewungu when he says clearly that, before putting teachers under duress of obtaining a degree which might even be against their will due to the teachers’ conditions in Uganda, Mr. Muyingo ought to have put in place measures of how the teachers who are willing to obtain degrees can be helped to fulfill the intended aims and objectives of the Ministry of education, instead of threatening or coercing teachers taking advantage of their situation. The teachers are not even sure or there is no guarantee whether they will be paid a salary commensurate to their obtained degrees. Such an incident happened to me. I went back to study and acquired a degree but I instead remained being paid a salary of a diploma teacher (Grade three teacher) like Mr. Ssewungu. There was a friend of mine, whose name I will not mention with whom I studied in the same University, her salary was raised instantly. When I asked her how she managed to do it, she told me “it is easy on condition that your first salary or your first two payments, will be taken by the person who will help you to raise your salary in the ministry”. I totally refused the idea hence, kept on getting a salary of a diploma teacher. Fellow Ugandans do you notice how rotten and corrupt the ministry of education is in particular and Uganda in general?
The Rwandese dictator Museveni has never known that schools and universities act as educational places to improve citizens’ lives as well as develop their social compromise. So, before sending Muyingo to work on directives, Museveni would have made sure that all the teachers who are willing to acquire degrees were to be facilitated to enable them to improve their lives and also develop their social compromise in order to inspire the students the teachers teach to also join the education sector. It is really a shame to force teachers to acquire degrees in this crisis of lockdown and extreme poverty. Where will the teachers get the money to do so? I feel a blind rage as a teacher about how teachers are treated in Uganda and nothing is being done to improve the teachers’ conditions and yet they are the ones who groom the future citizens of tomorrow
Based on the experience I spent teaching in Uganda, I observed that teachers are neither paid enough money nor given their due respect. Some officials in the Ministry of Education which is being headed by an inept Janet Museveni, a wife to the president of a Rwandese origin, use intimidating language to silence teachers who are advocating for their rights. What really used to perturb me, was using head-teachers to harass their fellow human beings. Surprisingly, some of them were also once classroom teachers but, they could hardly handle their colleagues in a respectful manner due to the fact that they work on directives from Museveni through his wife as Muyingo now does to intimidate teachers making them think that a teacher who doesn’t have a degree cannot deliver. This is totally wrong because content delivery depends on a number of factors. Remuneration, being one of them.)
I wonder how the government wakes up to give teachers directives of going back to study without any help from the government! It is known that the current economic situation, cannot even enable a teacher to develop with only their monthly salary because the cost of living increases day by day but teachers’ salaries remain the same. It is mindboggling to hear Heads of schools and Ministry of Education officials telling teachers to engage themselves in income-generating activities without any initial capital. In fact, that is in line with what Mr. Ssewungu addressed before the press that it is better for the government to put in place measures to facilitate teachers in their acquisition of the degrees, the government wants them to have. Instead of the government giving teachers support, Muyingo just gives directives to scare them as usual. No, that must stop. Teachers should be respected and they deserve their respect plus decent pay because they work tirelessly without holidays since Uganda’s system of education is exam-oriented which makes teachers even mark exam papers in holidays up to the time schools reopen.
When it comes to some of the private schools, which are money-oriented, teachers are incredibly exploited. They generally get paid late, and yet they are expected to continue teaching. So, Mr. Muyingo, how do you expect such teachers who are working in such conditions to facilitate their education? Muyingo is aware of the fact that a number of teachers in private schools have a complex situation of NOT being valued as the school values students who pay school fees. That means that a student has more say than a teacher and that makes it really difficult for a teacher to teach professionally. Tell me how a teacher who is not helped by the government will get interested in going back to school to continue being disrespected and also undervalued?
Before I conclude, I would first of all wish to advise Mr. Muyingo to tell devil Museveni who is wrongly seated in the chair of the presidency, that it is better for the government to first build modern school structures in the country and also renovate all the schools which are in the bad state especially both; the free Universal Primary and Secondary Education which are indeed free of knowledge, before forcing teachers to go back to school. Secondly, before the government commits itself to telling teachers to go back to school, a syllabus must be designed as Mr. Ssewungu stated. How should that syllabus be designed? By reviewing the existing teacher training materials and also selecting new content to fit in the needs of the intended government’s plans and policies. Thirdly, the government can get a team of curriculum designers, competent and experienced teachers to create learning materials. But still, that will go hand in hand with curriculum review. In addition to the above, if the government is really genuine and wants to help teachers to upgrade and obtain degrees for the betterment of the education sector in the country, there is a need to schedule for teachers depending on the time they get at school since teachers do not have time owing to the fact that they are always required at school. So, that will enable all teachers to be catered for. More to that, which is very crucial, teachers must be facilitated to pursue further studies since it is in the interest of the government to improve the quality of education in the country. They should also be guaranteed that after completion of their studies, they will be earning a salary commensurate to their qualifications. That is my opinion. Nevertheless, any addition is welcome but no subtraction.
In conclusion, the ministry of education has totally collapsed because it is in the wrong hands. Janet Museveni is very incompetent. She does not even qualify to occupy any position of responsibility in Uganda due to the fact that, her qualification calls into question the truth of its originality and authenticity. To make the point clear, the degree she got from Makerere University is a forged one and that is criminality.
WRITTEN BY, FRANCIS KASIBANTE. FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY