We have leverage, we will not mark UNEB examinations - Arts teachers say

The Secretary General of Uganda National Teachers' Union (UNATU), Filbert Baguma, in an interview, said that Arts subjects educators are still enraged with government over failure to give them a pay rise. He said they are simply bidding their time to strike back.

Filbert Baguma, Secretary General Uganda National Teachers' Union

According to Baguma, teachers were coerced into going back to class after a series of meetings with the President and Vice President which did not yield any positive results for their demands.

He says they agreed to suspend the strike but it is far from over.

"If you are negotiating with the government and you are talking to the president who insists on doing what he wants, you hit a dead end. I want to believe that to date, the president does not know the consequences of his decision. We didn’t call off the strike. We suspended it. During the three weeks strike, we met the president twice and the vice president but we didn’t make any headway," he said.

He noted that the teachers hold the cards and will not take advantage of them during the most crucial time of the academic year, the Uganda National Education Board examinations (UNEB).

"We shall have so many things at play next term including, and not limited to, refusal to mark UNEB examinations this year. You will, of course, find them (teachers) in classes but the government will understand it better when it comes to the UNEB results next year. Arts teachers are pretending to be in school – that is what government wants – but there’s no learning because teachers are not committed," he added.

When asked why the union suspended the strike in the first place, he said that after thoroughly presenting their grievances, they are giving cabinet time to make a decision and respond appropriately. That there's no limit on strikes, and they will resume according to the decision from government.

The teachers allegedly developed coping mechanisms during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown when schools were shut down. He advised government to consider this while looking for a way forward.

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