20 October 2011

Springs Alive Community School (SPACS) teachers complain about small pay

Do teachers get a fair fraction of the tuition in salary and/or allowances?
“We are paid Shs. 80,000, that is about $ 30 as a mandatory basic salary &/or allowance, this is besides the electricity, accommodation, water, and health bills that we usually have to meet on our own! It is, definitely, not enough considering that most teachers have families to feed,” one teacher complained.

Some teachers have dreamt of teaching in more than one school to boost their meager salary, but the school policy does not provide for this.It’s been very difficult to increase this money for the teachers given that we hardly have means yet to sustain the school. In many schools the longer one stays there, the more money they get. Pupils here pay a non-mandatory fee of about $10 per term. It’s not mandatory because you find that some pupils have contributed may be maize, beans or cassava to supplement for the teacher’s lunch.

We have had challenges of having to do with ineffective teachers/volunteers because with this kind of insufficient payment you cannot argue one for instance to be hardworking, keep time to mention but a few.

What seems so discouraging to the teachers is that after working hard, any mistake will not go unpunished. For the past three years, we have seen teachers get fired for misconduct, after consensus meeting with parents and school management committees.

At SPACS we have three terms and final examinations done at the end of each term, we also have Primary seven candidates that will be sitting their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and will be joining senior secondary schools next year come 2012, this will be our second class of Primary Seven Leavers since SPACS existed.

Schools with Primary seven leavers usually have a centre number that enables the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) work together to facilitate the examinations process but at SPACS we don’t have such centre number and we have requested one school in our neighborhood that has a UNEB centre number to allow out pupils sit their final examinations from there and they have agreed.

With a Primary leaver’s certificate, a student can join any secondary school or vocational institute.
For a teacher to survive here, he or she needs to be committed and does not have to teach anywhere.

On many occasions the Town council (a local authority) has thought we are a profit venture and want us to pay tax for the services being offered at SPACS, we have continually had to write and re-write to them that we are a non-profit making organization doing charity work.

SPACS operates as a community school and is recognized with the District Education Department. We have promised the Town Council that we will be able to supplement to their meager resources when we have means to sustain SPACS but not now.

We hope that if we will get the support needed to make the necessary upgrade for SPACS, then we will be in position to get support for the needy children in our care, be in position to sustain the school, increase the teachers’ salaries and also have the best teachers!

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