The Ministry of Education and Sports has directed all private education institutions to duly pay their staff.
In a May 18 circular issued to all directors, proprietors and heads of institutions, the ministry directed them to pay their employees during the lockdown period in accordance with the Employment Act and as per the agreed employment contracts.
Teaching and non-teaching staff in some private educational institutions have reportedly gone two months without receiving their due salaries while others have had their pay cut. Some have had their contracts terminated.
In justification, school proprietors and administrators said they have no money to facilitate payrolls due to the impact of the lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. They explained that students who were their sole source of revenue went back home before clearing their outstanding balances.
However, Mr Alex Kakooza, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education notes that since education institutions have gone only two months without operating, the budgets for first term salaries should be adequate to pay the staff for at least three months.
Kakooza further reminded them about the ministry’s guidelines for staff employment in private schools and institutions, which provides that school management shall pay the full-time staff during both the school term and the holidays.
“This is, therefore, to remind you that you are required to pay your employees during the lockdown period in accordance with the Employment Act and as per the agreed employment contracts,” stated Kakooza in a circular sent out to directors, proprietors and heads of educational institutions.
The ministry’s statement comes days after private universities filed for fiscal stimulus from the government to enable them to reopen their gates to finalists who are expected to return to their respective institutions next month.
Mr Juma Mwamura, the General Secretary, Uganda Private Teachers Union, however, fears that compelling private education institutions, more so at the lower levels of secondary and primary to pay staff might not be easy given the fact that the private education sector is largely managed informally with a big number of teachers and instructors working without appointment letters.