Teachers' Strike Sparks Mixed Reactions Top story

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In short
The industrial action announced by the Uganda National Teachers Union drew mixed reactions across the country. While some of the schools did not conduct any lessons, others defied the UNATU position and carried on with work.

The industrial action announced by the Uganda National Teachers Union drew mixed reactions across the country. While some of the schools did not conduct any lessons, others defied the UNATU position and carried on with work.

Some of the districts that defied the UNATU order include, Arua, Lira, Kabarole, Mbarara, Fort Portal Municipality and Hoima and a host of districts from Eastern Uganda.

In Arua district, teachers says that the district has had poor performance and that joining the strike would further put the district at a big disadvantage.

The deputy head teacher Arua Public Primary school Carmelo Andio say they consulted various stakeholders and agreed not to participate in the strike.
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The head teacher Arua Public Primary School, Catherine Dudu told Uganda Radio Network that the school could not abide by UNATU directives based on experience of failure to complete syllabus and poor performance resulting from past industrial action.

From Busoga region, the UNATU chairpersons made passionate pleas to the teachers to join the industrial action bu in vein. Their pleas come after some teachers reported to work.  

Meanwhile in Bunyoro region, the call for industrial action drew mixed reactions. Hoima Municipality and some schools in the surrounding areas conducted lessons while in Kibaale district, the teachers participated in the strike.

At Hoima Public school, the largest UPE Schools in Hoima, out of the 27 teachers, only two were absent and were reported to be on maternity leave. At Duhaga Boys Primary school, all the 22 teachers turned up and were in class. At Busiisi Primary School, all the 12 teachers worked. Head teachers of these schools say they cannot punish the pupils in the name of salary increment. 
 
Fred Musinguzi, the head teacher Duhaga Boys Primary School says 
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At Kakumiro Public Primary School, Kibaale, only Goret Nsimire, the head teacher reported to work as none of her six teachers showed up. At Kihurumba Primary School in Bwanswa Sub County, not even the head teacher was at school.

 At Semuto primary school in Kasambya sub county, George Mukwaya, the School Management Committee Chairperson was forced to take charge of the school, as there was no single teacher.

Kigezi region had perhaps some of the most glaring impact of the strike. Several schools remained closed as the new school term opened.

Despite calls by the government asking the teachers to open schools, teachers in the Districts of Kabale,Kisoro,Rukungiri and Kanungu stood their grounds and refused to work.
In Kabale District, Kabale Primary school, Ndorwa, Kikungiri, Kijuguta, Butobere and Junction Primary schools in Kabale Municipality all did not open.

At most of these schools, pupils never bothered to turn up because the parents were aware of the planned strike. The teachers used radio announcement and places of worship to inform them of the strike.

Kabale District UNATU Chairperson Zadock Tumuhimbise told URN on phone that the strike will continue up to when the teachers and the government resolve their issues.

The story is the same in Kisoro District where public schools also remain under lock. Kisoro District has a total of 1500 teachers of which 700 of them are members of UNATU but even those who are not members participated in the strike.

Several schools in Rukungiri district were deserted without teachers or pupils bothering to report to schools.

In Fort Portal Municipality, it was the pupils who didn't turn up on the first day of the second term. Some of the schools visited by URN reporter had teachers idle as no pupils reported to school. 

Tinka Byamukama, the head teacher Buhinga Primary School, one of the largest Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools in Fort Portal, says they were disappointed the parents didn't send their children to school. According to Byamukama, out of the 1099 pupils in the school, only 130 turned up.

At Kabarole Model Primary School all the 38 teachers were present. Olive Ruhweza, the head teacher says that the teachers were ready to conduct lessons, but out of 670 pupils only 50 turned up.
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At Karambi, Kinyamasika, Njara, Kahunga Bunyonyi and Kyebambe Model Primary School, teachers remained seated idle in the staffrooms, waiting for pupils to turn up, in vain.

In Mbarara Municipality, most of the teachers from the 40 government aided primary and secondary schools in Mbarara municipality turned up and conducted lessons despite the call from UNATU for industrial action.

Boaz Mugabirwe the head teacher Nyamityobora primary school in Kakoba division says the work of UNATU is to agitate for their rights but not to get them out of job.

At Mbarara Secondary School teachers were reportedly forced to teach by both the Resident District Commissioner Mbarara Nick son Kabuye and a team of education officers.

Only teachers of two schools, Madarasati Hamuzar primary and Mbarara Pentecostal primary schools stood their grounds and did not report for work.