Students idle as teachers strike

As teachers went on strike yesterday, most schools countrywide closed while in areas where students turned up for lessons, they were told to return home.

Kitante and Bat Valley primary schools pupils were told to wait for announcements from government on when to return, while at Nakasero Primary School, pupils spent all day idle.

At Arua Hill Primary School, the head teacher, Ms Catherine Dudu, said some of the pupils became rowdy as teachers were not teaching. She said if the strike continues it will affect exams planned for next week. Pupils were sent home as the teachers went into a meeting.

The head teacher of Nebbi P/S, Mr Gabriel Okumu, said pupils were sent home. “We felt that leaving pupils in class unattended to the whole day would be dangerous,” he said.

Activities were going on normally much as the head teachers said they have received phone calls from Kampala to strike.
The head teacher of Orokomba Primary School, Mr George Koma, said the education department advised them to continue with normal work.

Schools continued with normal activities. At Barakala Primary School, teachers taught. But there was no lesson conducted at Adjumani Girls’ SS, Pakele SS and other schools in the town council.

Teachers developed mixed feelings over the timing of the strike and the likely outcome since most schools are preparing to close for Term II holidays.

The head teacher of Bushenyi Town School, Ms Ann Ssalongo, found herself with only her two deputies in the school. The school has 14 teachers.

At Kibingo Girls’ School, a science teacher, Mr Benard Muhame, said: “We have been forced to be here to give mock exams but we are not teaching.”

Kabale and Kisoro
Most schools were deserted while in Mbarara Municipality, 21 of the 22 schools did not open. At Kakoba Muslim Primary School, the Headmaster, Mr Abed Ssemanda, said none of the 15 teachers had turned up.

The situation was normal yesterday morning but on getting information from their representatives, teachers abandoned chalk for “gossip”.

The head teacher of Main Street Primary School, Mr Charles Opoya, said teachers turned up in the morning but started leaving one-by-one and by afternoon, there were just five teachers. He dispersed pupils. It was the same story at Spire Road Primary School.

Hoima Public School teachers reported to school but only to sit in the staffroom and discuss their plight. “I regret joining teaching. I should have pursued a different course,” Ms Flavia Kyalimpa, a P2 teacher, said.
At Mparo Primary School, pupils were sent home at 11am and classrooms closed.

Masindi and Kabarole
Teachers at government-aided primary schools joined the strike. The few who turned up were idle. The Secretary for Education in Masindi District, Mr Kanaginagi Ateenyi, said teachers have a right to strike but asked them not to go beyond the agreed two days.

Kasese SS head teacher Adolf Kisembo said students became rowdy and damaged property, including laboratory equipment.

“Students kept on asking me whether they are to have classes as a message on the notice board by teachers talked of a strike,” said Mr Kisembo.

Police intervened and saved the laboratory building from being torched. The police are investigating teachers who were not in the school at the time the head teacher addressed students. Only four teachers out of 51 were present.

The document on the notice board read, “Teachers strike on. Please students go and pray, fight for teachers’ salary increment. We are tired of Museveni.”

Gulu Public P/S and Holy Rosary teachers taught up to the expected closing time of 4pm, although some pupils reportedly remained home.

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