By Steven Ainganiza
KABAROLE. Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) General Secretary, Filbert Baguma has revealed that over 380 teachers died this year due to financial stress.
“Over 380 teachers have died from the month of January to October this year due to financial stress. The teachers were indebted by financial institutions and banks where they acquire loans,” he said adding, “Our teachers have died because of the heavy loans they get from the commercial banks charging high interest rates which sometimes they fail to pay on time.”
Speaking during the World Teachers day celebrations held at Mukabura playground, St. Leos College Kyegobe, Fort Portal on Friday, Baguma urged government to create opportunities for teachers to access 50% of their gratuity while still in active service.
UNATU also wants government to cater for their funeral expenses as it is the case with other public servants.
Baguma reiterated that teachers are still disgruntled regarding a promise by government to enhance their salaries.
The Chief Guest, Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who represented President Yoweri Museveni said they are going to sit as a committee and find ways of responding to some issues that affect teachers.
He asked teachers to value and treasure their profession noting that education is very key for development to be achieved.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni said government would look into teachers' critical issues. She urged them to always observe their code of conduct while doing their work.
“I strongly warned some of you teachers against denying pupils their right to sit exams in their schools on claims that they are slow learners and cannot perform to the school’s expectation. This is against the teacher’s code of conduct and government policy of all children to access primary education under the Universal Primary Education (UPE),” she said.
The Education Minister revealed that her ministry is in its final stages to have a teacher content policy in place that would help to improve on the academic excellence in the country.