science teachers in the Kigezi sub-region have parted ways with the Uganda National
Teachers Union-UNATU and joined the Uganda Professional Science Teachers'
Union-UPSTU. A group of
science teachers registered Uganda Professional Science Teachers' Union with
the Labor Gender and Social Development Ministry in December 2020 following
endless disputes with UNATU top officials.
The disagreement stemmed from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s proposal in 2018
to increase the salaries of science teachers. Museveni proposed to increase the
pay of a graduate science teacher from Shillings 600,000 to Shillings
1.9million and diploma holders from Shillings 625,067 to Shillings 1.7M.
also proposed an increase in the salaries of headteachers with science qualifications
from Shillings 1.7million to Shillings 2.5million and their deputies from Shillings
1.5million to Shillings 1.7million.
officials didn’t warm up to the proposal and demanded an increase in teacher’s
salaries across the board.
Parliament also rejected the proposed increment of salaries
for only science teachers, saying it was discriminatory.This sparked rage among science teachers accusing UNATU officials of being jealous about
their projected benefit.
Bikorwomuhangi, the UPSTU National Vice-chairperson, says that when the President proposed the salary increment for science teachers he became happy
hoping that UNATU would support the proposal. Bikorwomuhangi, who also doubles
as the national coordinator of Tertiary Institutions, says that he was instead shocked
when UNATU top officials opposed the proposal.
says that it is as this time that he and other concerned teachers decided to
form another union because UNATU is aimed at benefiting a few individuals.
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Bikorwomuhangi reveals that about 300 science teachers from Kigezi have already
registered with UPSTU, adding that the registration exercise is still ongoing
even in other regions across the country.
says that some headteachers who are still stuck to UNATU are frustrating their
efforts to register all science teachers cross country by intimidating teachers.
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Elidad Turinimana, a physics and mathematics teacher at Kanaba secondary school
in Kanaba sub-county is Kisoro district is one of the science teachers that
have parted ways with UNATU and joined UPSTU. Turinimana says that he expected
UNATU top officials to welcome the president’s proposal to increase their pay but
he was very angry to see them quarrelling over the proposal.
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Agnes Atuheire, a biology teacher at St. Pauls Secondary school Bukinda in
Muhanga town council, Rukiga district says that she has no regrets of
denouncing UNATU because it had resorted to fighting science teachers instead of
pushing for their well being.
Atuheire says that UNATU did not consider the fact that once science teachers get
a pay rise, it would motivate them more since teaching science subjects is
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Zadock Tumuhimbise, the UNATU National Chairperson says that he is aware that
some science teachers have decided to UPSTU. Tumuhimbise says that he has no
control over science teachers parting ways with UNATU because it is their
freedom to join a union of their choice.
He, however, refutes
claims that UNATU top leaders have been sabotaging the proposed pay rise for
science teachers. According to Tumuhimbise, UNATU top officials are only
demanding for a uniform increment of teacher’s payment across the board because
they face similar challenges in the performance of their duties.
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Tumuhumbise asks science teachers joining UPSTU to remember that they will
continue paying agency fees to UNATU. Tumuhimbise is optimistic that
science teachers who are mindful of where UNATU found teachers will remain.
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This is not the first time a section of science teachers are parting ways with
UNATU. In June 2019, a section of science teachers led by Peter Okello broke
away from UNATU and formed the National Mathematics and Science Teachers’ Union
In September 2019, another group of science teachers led by Vicente
Elong and Job Richards Matua also formed the Uganda National Science Teachers'