By Spy Uganda
President Yoweri Museveni wants a model of Education focused on achieving the much-desired socio-economic transformation in Uganda.
While officiating at the belated World Teachers’ Day Celebrations at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala on Wednesday, under the theme: “Transformation of education begins with teachers,” His Excellency General Museveni said the mission of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government since coming to power in 1986 has been to ensure the socio- economic transformation of Ugandans.
“Because now we are not under the kings, we are not colonial agents. We are a National Resistance Movement. Our mission is socio-economic transformation of our people by moving away from the non-money, traditional, pre-capitalist non-money economy to a money economy with a society, composed of the middle class and the skilled working class,” Museveni said.
The President who was flanked by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mama Janet Museveni, told teachers that whereas education is an element in socio-economic transformation, it must be the right type of education, which addresses the country’s needs to get rid of peasants producing another peasant.
“This one we don’t accept. The NRM says we must build a skilled working-class society like in Europe where the whole society is either middle class or skilled working class. Please teachers, if you want to help your country, get this. Let everybody enter into the money economy through education and the four (4) sectors of Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services and ICT,” he urged.
To achieve the NRM mission of socio- economic transformation, the President called upon teachers to support his idea of free education (Education for all) to enable children of the poor study free in Government school. He also expressed dismay over non-cooperative headteachers that are obstructing this move by introducing unnecessary endless school charges that have in the end discouraged children from Education and many have ended up dropping out of schools.
“When we introduced this in 1997, enrollment went up from 2 million children to over 10 million in primary schools. But up to now, you bring charges in schools and the children drop out. The completion rate in UPE is 32% in the whole of Uganda because children drop out due to the school charges. If the capitation grant is not enough, why don’t you raise that?” Gen Museveni wondered, adding that this would enable the government to concentrate on building more classroom blocks and laboratories plus equipping them.
“Therefore teachers, I congratulate you on this day but I really want less obstruction and I will not accept threats,” Gen. Museveni said.
On salary increment, President Museveni and teachers under their umbrella body, Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) again sharply disagreed over the government’s plan to increase the remuneration of only science teachers, leaving out their arts counterparts.
The President said that the government will not backtrack on the decision and asked UNATU leadership not to resist his efforts or put him under pressure after knowing that the government is prioritizing scientists first to encourage Science and Technology Innovation under the science-led development strategy.
“I want to inform the teachers that money is not made by witchcraft and secondly, I’m not God who in the book of Genesis said let there be earth and water and it was made. For us in NRM we don’t do things by miracle, we do things by work, sacrifice and struggle. When it comes to expenditure, you must prioritize. If somebody is against prioritization we disagree and we can only have a fall out,” Gen Museveni said, warning teachers to stop the indiscipline.