On Monday, most primary teachers up-country had ignored the ongoing industrial action over Government’s resolution to stay payment of the 10% raise on their salary by a year.
Just a day gone by, all that has changed; record numbers of upcountry teachers have now joined their colleagues in Kampala to lay down their tools, until their umbrella body, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) and Government reach a deal.
This has given rise to paralysis in most schools across the country. Children turned-up in class, but resorted to playing games and singing rhymes- as teachers shunned classrooms, notwithstanding pleas by administrators for them to teach.
In many a school, teachers reported promptly, signed in the attendance book and; either lazed around in the staffroom, or returned home. Occasionally, pupils followed suit and returned home.
Across the country, there was general rise in absenteeism among pupils- just like their teachers.
However, meals for both teachers and pupils were never in short supply. In fact, in some schools, teachers and pupils took leave shortly after meals.
Although there was sign of life in many of the schools visited by New Vision On Tuesday, in some, classrooms and offices remained under lock.
Ghost schools across the country were suggestive of the toll the strike that started on Monday is taking on Uganda’s primary education system.
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda carries on asking teachers to offer lessons- as Government and UNATU seek a deal over.
But Margaret Rwabushaija, the UNATU Chairperson maintains that the industrial action is still on, until all the 138 chairperson of teachers across the country who voted for it resolve to call it off.
Government led by Rugunda, and UNATU inclusive of its national executive council and the 138 branch chairpersons meet tomorrow in an attempt to find a lasting solution to their disparity over the 10% teachers’ salary increment.
In the midst of all this, most secondary schools across the country are functioning routinely.