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Education Ministry Orders Private Schools To Pay Staff Salaries During COVID-19 Lockdown

Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports directed owners of private schools to honour their contractual obligations and pay up staff salaries and not hide behind the Coronovirus pandemic.

In a circular sent out to all school owners, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, Alex Kakooza (pictured) said the directive followed a barrage of reports to the Ministry that teachers and other workers in education institutions especially the privately owned ones aren’t being paid their salaries. 

It should be noted that as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni directed that education Institutions be closed with effect from 20th March 2020 for a period of 30 days and the closure of schools was further extended on 14th April 2020, extending the Lockdown for another 21 days, and then further 14 days ending 19th May 2020.

For updates and latest info about COVID-19 situation in Uganda, visithttps://bit.ly/2WKANNF

The Ministry of Education has also castigated the errant school owners for hiding behind the Coronovirus pandemic to deny their staff salary dues, saying the school closure periods given by the President imply that by 19th April 2020, education Institutions would have been remained closed for a period of two months.

“This period is less than the time that was left on the first term of 2020, including holidays, when schools were forced to close. Therefore, the budget for the salaries for the first term should be adequate to staff for at least three months,” noted Kakooza.

He asked the owners of private schools to follow the example of Government that is paying teachers and other public service workers their full salaries during the Lockdown period. 

He added that the Ministry of Education and Sports Guidelines for Staff Employment in Private Schools and Institutions No5(9) provides that school management shall pay the full-time staff during both school term and holidays.

“This is therefore to remind you that you are required to pay your employees during lockdown period in accordance with employment act and as per agreed employee contract,” Kakooza said.

The development comes at the time Private school owners have set pre-conditions for the government ahead of partial school reopening, demanding relief food and exemption from paying local taxes and candidates’ registration fees for national examinations.

The National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA), also rebuked Government for excluding teachers from government’s food aid to vulnerable groups yet they have persevered without pay after schools were abruptly closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The school owners are demanding Government to test all students for coronavirus before reporting and also ensure government meet the water bills.

In his last address, President Museveni revealed Institutions of learning would resume teaching on 4th June, but these would only be limited to candidate classes and finalists.

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