UNATU makes demands as Uganda celebrates World Teachers’ Day

Ugandan government to hire 22,000 teachers - recruitment
Akello Catherine teaching phonics to P1 at Layibi Techo Primary. COURTESY PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day 2023, Uganda joins the global community in celebrating the invaluable contributions of educators. However, amidst the festivities, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) has taken the opportunity to voice several pressing demands to the government.

Mr. Filbert Baguma, the Secretary-General of UNATU, highlights the challenges facing teachers in Uganda, emphasizing that they are grappling with excessive workloads, inadequate compensation, and a sense of being undervalued. These issues have unfortunately led to a significant number of teachers resigning from the profession in pursuit of alternative opportunities.

Among the key challenges faced by teachers are professional, economic, and personal obstacles exacerbated by the high cost of living, salary disparities between arts and science teachers, delayed promotions, insufficient teaching materials, and the burden of overseeing overcrowded classrooms with limited staff.

In response to these challenges, UNATU has put forth a series of demands to the government. These include:

  1. Fair enhancement of teachers’ salaries without discrimination.
  2. Provision of funds to support the operationalization of the teachers’ SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization).
  3. Investment in teachers’ professional development.
  4. Increased funding for teaching and learning resources to facilitate educators in their roles.

Mr. Baguma underscored the importance of World Teachers’ Day, stating that despite the difficulties teachers face, this occasion serves as an opportunity to mobilize support, raise awareness about their issues, and advocate for positive change. He reiterated that the quality of education is intrinsically linked to the quality of its teachers and called for collective efforts to address the challenges faced by educators.

“World Teachers’ Day is celebrated despite the challenges the teachers go through because it’s an opportunity to mobilize support, create awareness of our issues, and many more. If you forget the teacher, you have forgotten education. No education system is better than the quality of its teachers,” Baguma said on Wednesday 4, October 2023.

The national commemorative event for World Teachers’ Day 2023 with the global theme, “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage,” is scheduled to take place at Kololo Independence Grounds Thursday 5, October 2023, and it is expected to be attended by President Museveni and the Minister of Education, Janet Museveni, among others.

About World Teachers’ Day

World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to celebrate all teachers around the globe. It commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions.

The Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted in 1997 to complement the 1966 Recommendation by covering teaching personnel in higher education. World Teachers’ Day has been celebrated since 1994.

It is a day to celebrate how teachers are transforming education but also to reflect on the support they need to fully deploy their talent and vocation, and to rethink the way ahead for the profession globally.  

World Teachers’ Day is co-convened in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF and Education International (EI).