Parliament on Wednesday halted government’s proposed move to increase science teachers’ salaries starting Financial Year 2018/19.
The parliament’s education committee chairperson Connie Nakayenze tabled the report before the House chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. Hon Nakayenze urged that the proposed increment will only create disparity in the payment of teachers [Science vs non science teachers] with the same qualifications.
“The committee notes with concern that the proposed increment will bring about supervisory challenges since even the supervisors in the education sector like the commissioners and directors at the ministry of Education are paid a lower salary as compared to the proposed salary for the science teachers. For example, commissioners and directors at the ministry earn Ugx. 1,350,000 and Ugx. 1,859,000 million respectively.” reads part of the committee report.
The MP said that the proposed pay rise for science teachers was unconstitutional and discriminatory contrary to Article 40 (18) of the Constitution, which requires ‘parliament to enact laws to ensure equal payment for equal work without discrimination.’
“The committee further advises that, besides, the use of financial benefits several other issues have got to be addressed including teachers housing, laboratories, classrooms and other teaching aids in the school to improve students’ performance in science subjects. The committee maintains that the policy of salary increment on its own, will not address the underperformance in science subjects. To the contrary, it could create the following challenges for the sector. The arts teachers will be grossly demotivated and as a result underperform or engage in strikes. Two, this may also bring about fights and strikes among the students since the arts students will disadvantaged over their colleagues who study sciences.” she said.
Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga ruled that parliament was obliged to abide by the Constitution and not endorse discrimination. “Honourable members, I think we’re obliged to abide by the constitution that this House should not endorse discrimination. Let the government go back with respect to the teachers, go back and work out a solution.” said Kadaga.
Recently, government proposed to increase the salary degree science teacher’s holders to Ugx.1.9 million in the 2018/2019 financial year while an arts teacher with the same qualifications will earn about Ugx. 600,000. While science teachers with diplomas would earn Ugx. 800,000 and their arts colleagues Ugx. 400,000.