MPs halt proposed science teachers’ pay rise

MMD 4811The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has asked government to shelve a proposal to raise pay for teachers of science and called for a comprehensive policy to address teachers’ plight on the whole.
Government had proposed, in the Ministry of Education and Sports Ministerial Policy Statement for Financial Year 2018/2019, to pay Shs.9 million as salary for degree holding science teachers, against Shs600,000 for their humanities counterparts.
Government had also proposed that teachers of science, who are diploma holders are paid Shs800,000 as opposed to Shs400,000 for their humanities counterparts.
The proposal suffered intense criticism from both the Committee on Education and Sports and from a section of MPs, leading to a recommendation against it.
Kadaga said that increasing the pay for teachers of science while leaving out their arts teachers would tantamount to discrimination which is unconstitutional.
“We are obliged to abide by the Constitution; this House should not endorse discrimination with respect to the teachers’ [proposed] pay raise. Go back and harmonise,” said Kadaga.
In its report on the Ministerial Policy Statement, the Committee had already set the stage for the rejection, when it recommended that the proposal should not be accommodated.
“The Committee strongly recommends that government halts the salary increment for the science teachers and harmonises all,teachers' salaries so that they be actualised through wide consultations with the concerned stakeholders,” partly read the report presented by Hon. Connie Nakayenze (NRM, Mbale District), the Committee Chair.
The Committee termed the proposal unconstitutional and discriminatory, suggesting instead that, “ the amount intended for enhancement of the science teachers' salaries should be used to recruit the 2000 science teachers so that the schools without any teachers in the science subjects can be supported”.
The Minister of Public Service ,Muruli Mukasa, in an effort to save the proposal said that it did not mean that government is unaware of the plight of the teachers of humanities.
“Government is not impervious to the gap between science and arts teachers, we all know that science is at the base of development in the society,” said Muruli Mukasa. He added, “If the scientists are not handled well, they will opt for greener pastures outside the country.” The MPs, however, protested this.

Nakayenze explained that Government’s proposal would increase the teachers’ pay far and above that of their supervisors.
The Ministry of Education has drawn up a gross budget allocation of Shs3.06 trillion from shs2.8 trillion in the current financial year.
Of the proposed Shs31 trillion national budget for the coming financial year, the Ministry is requesting for 10 per cent, against the 11.3 per cent in the current financial year.

The House is now considering sectoral committees reports on the Ministerial Policy Statements.This is one of the last laps of the appropriation process, towards approval of the estimates for the next financial year by the May 31 deadline as prescribed under the Public Finance Management Act.