The decades-old model that enables private schools to affordably access skills of the best, experienced teachers without paying full salaries is also falling victim to the Covid-19 disruption and will not only lower the standards in the schools but also adversely disrupt the earning of the good teachers, which had kept them in the profession.
School administrators have been pushed against the wall by the Ministry of Education’s directive that blocks teachers from part-timing in multiple schools.
The decades-old model that enables private schools to affordably access skills of the best-experienced teachers without paying full salaries is also falling victim to the COVID-19 disruption and will not only lower the standards in the schools but also adversely disrupt the earning of the good teachers, which had kept them in the profession.
As one of the school reopening guidelines, the ministry emphasized that no teacher will be allowed to move around schools as one of the means to reduce the risk of likely transferring covid19 disease from one school to another.
Before the school close down, many private schools, both primary and secondary, who could afford to pay full salaries of their teaching staff had been relying on by part-timers. Still, others could attract the considered best teachers to facilitate their candidates to pass the national examinations.
Hassan Gombe, headteacher Mulago High School, notes with the current financial constraints it will next to impossible for some private schools to hire full-time teachers given the fact that they will be having two classes.
Muhammad Ssengoba Makumbi, Headteacher Kisaasi College also attests that with social distance guidelines, schools will have more streams which also translates into more teachers.
Makumbi, Says Before the lockdown, a school with fewer students would need an average of 10 teachers to handle different subjects only in senior four. Now, with the creation of more streams to meet social distancing such schools might need around ten teachers.
He adds that for schools with huge numbers of learners, the number of needed teachers might raise to 30 depending on the designed time table. “As a matter of fact, some schools will not be able to pay them salaries. If they try to do so then the cost will go to the parent yet they are already pleading not to increase school fees,” Makumbi.
Innocent Onen, secondary school teacher, note with little pay given by private schools, teachers resort to part-time in other schools to bridge the gap. He explains that on average some schools could pay a given part-time 200,000 shillings for a month teaching not less than three days a week in several classes.
Onen adds that a part-timer might be working in three to four schools to get some reasonable pay at the end of the month.
On government payroll, a primary classroom teacher earns net pay of at least 499,000 shillings per month and their secondary counterparts get about 700,000 shillings although science teachers earn over one million.
Gombe says that a school that has less than 200 candidates both at O and A’ level cannot meet even half of the money paid on the government payroll.
“With other financial obligation to meet including utilities, feeding, non-teaching staff payment and at times rent, middle and low-end schools cannot pay these teachers,” Gombe says adding that “surprisingly even those paid by the government are complaining saying that it is not enough when you factor in the cost of living and you find that they also have to part-time to sustain their families.”
Patrick Kaboyo, the National Secretary Federation of Non-State Education Institutions-FENEI, says if the schools are to do away with part-timers, then there is a chance of having human resource challenges. He notes that they intend to talk to the ministry to reconsider the decision or put guiding principles on the category of teachers.
However, Martine Okiria Obore, chairperson of the Association of Secondary School Headteachers of Uganda, supports the guideline arguing that it will give chance to many unemployed teachers on the streets which had been rejected by schools as they fought for the few so-called subject experts.
Obore, who is also the headteacher at Soroti SSS, points out that with part-timing many governments employed teachers have been failing to concentrate on their load share at the duty station.
Similarly, Benson Kule Baritazale, Head of school inspection for school reopening, notes that during the inspection each school will be told to present its teachers and therefore they would not expect one teacher to present in more than one school. He says the issue if tracked can lead to the closure of the school even if it had been given a certificate of compliance.