The Secretary-General of Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union (UPSTU), Aron Mugaiga, has said that science teachers equally need to be recognized as other scientists in other fields.
He made his stance during The Fatboy Show on RX Radio, in a phone interview with the Show hosts James Onen commonly known as Fatboy and Olive Najjuma.
Mr. Mugaiga was responding to the Ministry of Public Service's decision to have science teachers' salaries increased by 50 percent away from the earlier Presidential directive because increasing it by 100 percent would drain the country’s economy that is still recovering from the Covid 19 effects.
According to the Ministry of Finance, 95 billion shillings have been set aside for the salary enhancements of the teachers.
Mr. Mugaiga said that the Presidential directive on the salaries enhancement would see graduate science teachers earn 4 million from 1.1 million, then diploma holders would earn 3 million from 796,000. According to him, an additional budget of only 95 billion is not enough.
“We were very clear with the government and agreed upon some terms with the Ministry of Public Service. One of the things we expected them to do was the increment of science teachers' wages as is being done for other sectors because what we are against is discrimination and marginalization of scientists in the education sector,” Mr. Mugaiga said.
He said the science teachers need to be treated essentially as other scientists because they are the trainers of other scientists.
“We believe science teachers are the primary scientists and must be treated as scientists. We are hearing rumors of government increasing to a certain tune but not to that of the Presidential directive though we don't have any official communication about it. So we are treating those as rumors and our position still stands. If the Presidential directive is respected in the Engineering, Agricultural, environmentalists, and statisticians, it has to be respected for science teachers because all these other scientists come from science teachers,” he added.
He added that unless the government comes out to clearly proclaim the 50 percent enhancement, they will continue holding to their earlier stand.
According to the government, the full increment of salaries, wages, and gratuity of scientists, Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces will drain the country’s economy by raising the total wage bill from 5.533 trillion shillings to 7.433 trillion shillings.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.