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Gov’t Calls for Talks with Striking Science Tutors :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Gov’t Calls for Talks with Striking Science Tutors

Since August 2023, numerous science tutors primarily from the 23 core primary teacher colleges have expressed grievances about being removed from the science salary scale without sufficient explanation. This action has resulted in them not receiving their rightful payments for eight months.
12 Apr 2024 12:48
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The Ministry of Public Service has yielded to pressure and requested negotiations with science teacher training tutors who are currently on strike advocating for their reinstatement to "Rightful Salary Scales." 

In a letter addressed to the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union- UPSTU, Stephen Opio Okiror, acting on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, acknowledged the government's willingness to engage in discussions regarding the issue.

However, he emphasized the importance of the teachers calling off the strike beforehand.

“The purpose of this communication is to; Give updates on how the salary for Science Tutors in Primary Teachers' Colleges is being addressed by the two Ministries. Ask you to call off the ongoing industrial action and allow us time to conclude on the issue," Okiror's letter reads. 

Since August 2023, numerous science tutors from the 23 core primary teacher colleges have expressed grievances about being removed from the science salary scale without sufficient explanation. This action has resulted in them not receiving their rightful payments for eight months.

According to the discontented tutors, they have been on the science scale for years, and when the science teachers' salary was increased in 2021, they also experienced a pay raise from 800,000 to 2.2 million for diploma holders and from 1.2 million shillings to 4.3 million for degree holders.

Despite being placed on the science salary scale by the Ministry of Public Service, there has been a recent development where the same ministry sent a letter to the Ministry of Education, raising questions about the presence of scientists in primary teachers' colleges.

Moreover, the public service has expressed uncertainty regarding the classification and treatment of tutors who entered the Primary Teachers' College (PTC) teaching service after completing O'Level, Grade III, and subsequently upgrading through a diploma or graduate program.

“How to treat a tutor who joined the PTC teaching service after completing ordinary level education, Grade III Teaching Certificates as a teacher of all primary school subjects and upgrade through a diploma and graduate tutor demanding to be paid as a scientist,” a letter from public service reads in part. 

The public service ministry also emphasized that there were secondary school teachers with PTC qualifications and questioned their eligibility for employment as tutors in PTCs. Additionally, the ministry sought clarification on whether general science, physical education, and home economics should be categorized as science subjects.  

Ketty Lamaro, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, acknowledged that there are indeed scientists in PTCS, and the science subjects taught are outlined in Establishment Notice Number 2 of 2015.

“The person becomes a scientist through upgrading at the diploma level. A tutor will specialize either in arts or science. One who specializes in science option is the one who teaches integrated science (physics, chemistry, and biology,” reads the response seen by our reporter.  

The Permanent Secretary further added that when there was a scarcity of tutors specializing in integrated science, they recruited secondary school teachers to assist in training Grade III teachers.

In correspondence with the union, Stephen Opio Okiror stated that the two Ministries (Ministry of Public Service and Ministry of Education and Sports) are in the process of addressing the concerns of the Science Tutors. However, it was added that there is still a need for policy harmonization.  

“It should be noted that for this issue to be adequately resolved, there is a need for Policy harmonization, and that is the reason it has taken time to be concluded,” his letter reads in part. 

Despite the calls for negotiations, Aaron Mugaiga, the General Secretary of UPSTU, maintains that the union's stance is to prioritize the reinstatement of unfairly removed tutors to their approved pay while negotiations proceed. 

"That is our position," he emphasized.     

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