Ministry of Education and Sports has ordered owners of private schools to honour their contractual obligations and pay up staff salaries without hiding behind the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a circular issued by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza which was sent out to all school owners, says that the directive followed a barrage of reports to the Ministry that teachers and other workers in education Institutions especially the privately owned Institutions aren’t being paid their salary dues.
He pointed out that in response to the danger posed by COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni directed that education Institutions be closed with effect from March 20, 2020 for a period of 30 days and the closure of schools was further extended on April 14, extending the Lockdown for another 21 days, and then further pushed for 14 days till May 19, which was extended again for more 21 days.
The Ministry castigated the errant school owners for hiding behind the Coronavirus pandemic to deny their staff their salary dues saying the school closure periods given by the President imply that by April 19, 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.
Kakoozahe 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.
“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,” noted Kakooza.
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, Museveni revealed that Institutions of learning would resume teaching on June 4, but these would only be limited to candidate classes and finalists.