It is hardly earth-moving but, yes, Milton Olupot is reporting that 40% of Uganda’s teachers don’t show up for work. What is astonishing is that their minister thinks that this is a sign of lack of patriotism.
In 2009 60% of Uganda’s teachers actually show up for work?!! Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!! What should teachers do to prove to Mama Bitamazire that they are the most patriotic profession in Uganda, eat the soil on which they walk? Someone suggested the other day that 80% of Uganda’s nurses are ill-qualified for the job and that of that 80%, barely 10% show any tender loving care to their patients. Surely 60% is a luxurious show of patriotism in comparison!
When you are paid less than 180,000/= (about $91 today) – late – and your monthly salary doesn’t cover your rent, the maths is relatively easy. Once you get home at the end of the month, you pay your monthly rent and that’s it; you owe your landlord 20,000/=. You have no money left to transport you to school and none left to buy any food. So, the obvious alternative is to sit in your house with the empty food shelves and wait for the next month’s salary so that you again can pay for the roof over your head. It’s shocking that Uganda’s teachers don’t have some sort of Guiness record for collectively going hungry for the longest time month after month.
Basically, Ugandan teachers are stuck at home and what is shocking about all this is that their minister, Mama Namirembe Bitamazire isn’t aware that her teachers are essentially under house arrest due to financial duress. But, Mama Bitamazire she has been in her ministerial job more than 25 years.
Someone once suggested that, after 10 years in office, the laws of diminishing returns set in and whatever one touches after that undoes the good one did before the decade rolled round. Following that logic, Mama Bitamazire should have been removed from the leadership of Uganda’s education ministry around 1996 at the latest. We all know she wasn’t. Following the same logic, her best years ran out in 1996 and her mind, and with it her awareness of reality, started regressing. Therefore, in Mama Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire’s brain it is 1983.
Aaah!!! But of course.
In 1983 200,000/= could put a roof over a teacher’s head, feed them for a month, transport them to school and back, and leave some money aside for a pair of used hand-me-down linens from Owino Market.