KAMPALA – The National Private Educational Institutions Association has proposed that the government pays salaries for teachers in private schools for at least a year.
The association leaders had on Tuesday, June 16 appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on National Economy to present a situation report on their sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hasadu Kirabira, the National Research In charge of the Association who led the team lamented that the education sector has been one of the most affected by the pandemic and many schools are now drowning in debt from rent and salary arrears.
The Association laid down a number of proposals which included a call to Government to waive direct tax subscriptions and fees like PAYE income tax and property rates for a period of three years to enable parents and schools to recover from the economic shock.
He said, “Government to consider paying salaries of private schools teachers for at least one year because currently we aren’t working and as per professional code of conduct they can’t work in other sectors.”
According to the Association, COVID-19 has rendered 360,000 members of teaching and non-teaching staff in private schools redundant and potentially jobless of which 59,550 are in KCCA alone.
Reagan Okumu (Aswa County) told off private school owners for turning the institutions into money-making ventures. He cited the example of some schools who issued circulars demanding for school tuition for the next term after children were sent home during the lockdown.
He said, “You focus on profit more than earning salaries. You have co-curricular activities like swimming, yet you don’t have swimming pools in your schools, what if I don’t want my child to swim? You take children and crowd them in some dirty swimming pools. You have turned private schools into business enterprises. Much as we appreciate the value you are providing, you must be told.”
Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North) had earlier observed that the association had surprisingly not given a mention to the high rates of fees that parents have to endure in order to keep their children in school. She noted that these fees also have to be regulated.
She said, “We are operating in a liberalized economy, we know private schools are charging exorbitant fees, they even charge in dollars, but you aren’t talking about regulating school fees. If we regulate one side, the other one must be regulated.”