A study conducted in April 2005 by the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) shows that the deteriorating working and living conditions of teachers are undermining efforts to achieve Education For All.
"Issues of accommodation, the cost of living compared to earnings, a heavy workload because of increased enrolment due to Universal Primary Education (UPE), the teacher recruitment ceiling and the general work environment – it is saddening," said Teopista Birungi Mayanja, UNATU General Secretary. Teachers are being increasingly disrespected in communities because poor pay forces them into debt, and the study shows that this is a major contributory factor in high school drop-out. "The deteriorating relationship between teachers and communities prevents follow up of children who don’t report to school or stops parents from discussing a child’s problem with the teacher. This undermines efforts for achieving education for all," she continued. The UNATU study shows that 51% of Uganda’s teachers work in schools without staff rooms. "The success of teaching depends on preparation and evaluation outside classroom assessment. Teachers need adequate room for preparation and storage. 59% of the available staff rooms are congested with no furniture," the report says. As part of its publicity and advocacy programme, UNATU has produced a DVD documentary film showing the living and working conditions of Ugandan teachers. It provides useful insight into the issue by listening to the teachers themselves. Copies of the DVD have been sent to a number of affiliates who expressed interest in the film. Additionally, EI recently requested a Ugandan journalist to write on the situation regarding the education system in her country. Entitled "From Dreams To Destitution, the Price Of Teaching in Uganda", Harriette Athieno Onyalla's article describes the life of Oluka, a Ugandan teacher. Organisations that wish to republish the article can do so free of charge. Images taken during the interview could be requested from our headoffice. For more information about the article, UNATU's DVD, or EI's EFAIDS Programme, please contact us at: [email protected]