By Yawe Araphat
Uganda celebrated this year’s International Teachers Day on October 5, 2021 virtually with all the Labour unions in the Educational sector organizing their low key activities.
Professional Science Teachers Union (UPSTU) said in their statement that World Teachers’ International Day is held annually on 5th October to celebrate all teachers around the globe ever since 1994.
UPSTU is calling upon government to make the teaching profession more attractive by planning a more dynamic quality recruitment and strategic professional trainings.
Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union (UPSTU) Chairman Mr Elong Vincent said the Theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day as presented by UNESCO is: “Teachers at the heart of education recovery.”
He said the educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the crucial role of teachers in maintaining learning continuity.
“All teachers must therefore, be at the heart of the educational recovery response, from leveraging technology creatively to providing socio-emotional support to their students and reaching those most at risk of falling behind with take-home packages,” he said.
Mr Elong said they join other actors in the world to celebrate all teachers for their exceptional dedication and courage, capacity to adapt and innovate under very challenging and uncertain conditions posed by COVID-19 Pandemic in teaching and learning process for over one and half year now.
“As teachers we are the principal actors of the global education recovery efforts and very key in accelerating progress towards inclusive and equitable quality education for every learner under the prevailing hard circumstances.
He said: “ We acknowledge that teachers are the icon of knowledge and the most influential forces for quality education and national development.
The educationist said the teachers’ day comes as a golden opportunity to accolade teachers for the work well done in the national development and transformation.
“As we celebrate the 2021 WTD, all teachers must look at the future of the profession and prepare to cope up with the 21st-century challenges of “teaching in diversity and diversity in teaching. ”he said.
Mr Elong said attracting a bright minded young teachers to the teaching profession in Uganda is becoming increasingly challenging and difficult due to low pay and poor welfare for the teachers.
He noted that many of these young potentials needed in the education sector are crossing to a more lucrative well paid sectors to serve there and earn a living.
UPSTU called on Government to take bold steps to increase the pay of all teachers for the vital work they do in national development and tranformation. “This will not only motivate teachers but also attract more gifted young people and keep them in the teaching profession,” he said..
Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, welcomes the recently approved pay rise by cabinet for all scientists with science teachers inclusive under the good stewardship of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni .
They castigated other stakeholders who have been against salary enhancement for scientists in the education sector, advising and added that UPSTU is a fully registered union.
“We shall not tolerate any kind of negativity and confusion of selective fighting salary payrise for scientists by some actors against a clear government policy of salary enhancement for all scientists,” He said.
Mr Elong reminded teachers that COVID – 19 is here to stay and has claimed many lives including teachers, and advised them to observe SOPs.
Uganda Liberal Teachers Union (ULITU) called on all teachers and stakeholders in the education sector to honor teachers of all categories for dedicated service to humankind.
They said the theme: “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery” is not only suitable and timely but also ingenuous.
ULITU General Secretary Mr Jackson Erima said throughout the Pandemic period teachers continue to hold the banner of learning high doing their professional jobs through radios, televisions, WhatsApp and even telephone calls.
He said as “foster parents” in the upbringing of young generation, teachers continue to be the paragon of values and the rock of resilience during difficult times.
“As loyal servants and citizens, teachers demonstrate without break patriotism to the country even without motivational emoluments. They are indeed at the heart of education recovery”, he said.
Uganda Liberal Teachers’ Union appeals to all teachers in the country and elsewhere to keep the candle – light of learning and transformation burning to give hope to our people despite the Covid- – 19 thunderbolt.
He said: “It is our passionate role to embrace a new “education Renaissance” in the “Covidian and Post – Covidian era’.
Uganda Private Teachers Union (UPTU) said they celebrate International Teachers Day private schools that constitute 60 per cent of the entire educational sector have and continue to be heavily hit by Covid – 19 pandemic.
UPTU General Secretary Mr Juma Mwamula said several schools are under a complete extinction because of inability to keep afloat through the times of tough tide.
He said they ere amazed that instead of the Ministry of Education and Sports addressing issues pertaining to the plight of teachers they instead came up with fresh registration of schools.
Mr Mwamula thanked President Museveni for pledging Ushs 2.5 trillion to private schools proprietors and 20b for teachers’ covid – 19 recovery grant but are yet to receive the money.” We are still demanding for Ushs 20b,” he said. .
National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) Chairman General Mr Usher Wilson congratulated teachers for undertaking to serve the nation tirelessly despite impediments caused by Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are products of teachers and that’s why we are proudly calling ourselves all sorts of professions like lawyers, doctors, accountants and others,” he said.
The NOTU Chairman General called on all workers in the country to give teachers special recognition for their unremitting enthusiasm in serving the nation selflessly.
Mr Owere called on government to expedite the process of reopening schools so that the plight of teachers and children is solved.
He said: “Teachers are human beings that need a living and should not be made to hate their profession because of effects of covid -19.”
He reminded President Museveni that his presidential pledge of Ushs 20bn to teachers has never reached them, and should be released immediately to help them now.
He said:” I appeal to teachers to go and get vaccinated against Covid-19 so that there is no excuse why government should not open schools ■