Primary School Class in Uganda
Ugandan teachers are threatening to go on strike for a living wage
Primary teachers in Uganda earn only slightly more than $100 a month - scarcely enough to live on. Leader of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unuta), Teopista Buringi said: “Teachers have struggled for quality education for all children amidst difficult working and learning conditions. Despite our enormous contribution, we have been constantly let down by the government, yet we are being held accountable for quality of education.”
With inflation running at 16%, teachers are planning to go on strike on July 27th if the government does not come up with a pay rise to enable teachers to do their work without having to worry about basic survival. Teachers are the latest workers to go on strike for a living wage -taxi drivers and city traders have also been on strike against the soaring cost of living, unfair taxes and in the struggle for a living wage.
Last year teachers in Uganda had to take action to try to force the government to give schools the basic funding they needed. Reporting on that situation, this website said: "Last year schools in the district had to wait a whole year before getting basic teaching resources. Uganda is a potentially rich country – fertile and with mineral and oil reserves but like many other countries in the Global South the majority of its population see little benefit with 35% living below the poverty line and an average life expectancy of 52. it is one of the so-called Highly Indebted Poor Countries and as such in receipt of the attentions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Teachers there are doing a heroic job and deserve all our solidarity in their struggle for education funding."
The failure to provide education funding has still not been resolved and as well as the struggle for a living wage Unatu is also demanding that capitation grants be released to schools to buy the basic materials needed for education. Another Unatu leader told the website www.razor.ug
“UPE (Universal Primary Education) capitation grant is Shs100 per child per day. The term is soon closing but the capitation grant has not yet been released yet it should be released before the school term begins. We want government to release this capitation grant.”