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Teachers Strike: Students Worried As Exams Draw Closer

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there http://conceive.ca/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>When I walk through the Old Kampala SSS gate to the administration block today at 9:00am, recipe I am met by two students who freely move out without any interference from the school security operatives at the gate.

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However, I am later told by one of the students that they are free to get in and out of the school at any time they feel like.

The classes are open. However, surprised that there are barely 100 students at a school which teaches over 2000 students – some are playing football in the school’s playground some moving aimlessly around the big school compound while the most of those in the classes are engaged in conversations.

“Government should meet the teachers’ demands. They are given little money and it is taxed. Just like the other servants who earn in millions as monthly salary, they also have their obligations to meet,” says Raymond Mugisha, a senior four candidate at School, who, I meet stranded at the school’s main gate.

He, however, admits that this is going to have a big impact on their on their performance “because we have not yet completed the syllabus and the exams are nearer”.

“Teachers are not coming to school while a few who come don’t teach. They only advise us to revise the notes that they taught.”

Mugisha, however, says the teachers’ refusal to come to class was not the best option saying it was them (students) who were suffering as a result of the strike.

He appeals to the Minister of Education to work on the situation of teachers so that they can get back to work.

“The Minister should also extend the UNEB exams for at least two to three weeks to compensate for the time that has been lost.”

On moving to the immediate neighbouring school; Old Kampala Primary School, the story is not any different – there are barely 7 pupils.

However, unlike their neighbours, here most of the classes are closed.

Stella Namirembe, a primary six pupil says she has been greatly affected by the strike and is worried of being overworked in case teachers end their strike.

“They will want to cover up for the time lost and in the end it will be us to suffer.”

Noah Balikudembe, a senior two student at Mengo SS, says he supports the teachers’ strike “because that is the only language that the government understands. They were given over three months to act upon the demands but didn’t respond”.

He adds that the teachers’ salaries should be increased because if the teachers are happy with their work, “that’s when we will understand best what they are teaching”.

The situation at these three schools reflects what’s happening in other parts of the country after teachers announced a strike one week ago.

The school teachers’ plea for a 20 percent pay rise was rejected.

The government has long promised to raise teachers’ salaries, among the lowest in the east African country’s state sector, but has failed to honour its pledge until when the teachers decided to lay down their tools.

In July, it emerged that tens of thousands of public workers including teachers and police officers had not received their pay for months.

However, even after a week since their strike started, there is no agreement which has been reached by the teachers and the government.

UNATU (Uganda National Teachers’ Union) Secretary General, James Tweheyo, last Thursday said the industrial action is to continue and urged teachers and students to remain at home and calm as the issue is resolved, something that has left the students worried about their future.

According to the Uganda National Examination Board time table, UCE candidates will begin their exams on October 11, senior six candidates on November 8 while PLE candidates will begin on November 1.

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