The government has issued a stern warning to propriators of private schools that are using the current Covid-19 induced lockdown to run away from the obligations of paying their staff salaries.
In circular to owners of private schools, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Alex Kakooza, directed the school owners to honour their contractual obligations and pay up their staff salaries than hiding behind the Coronavirus pandemic.
Kakooza’s directive comes in the wake of increasing petitions to the Ministry from teachers and other workers in education institutions whose salaries haven’t been paid since March when President Yoweri Museveni announced a lockdown.
Kakooza said that the time the country has been under lockdown is less than the time that was left on the first term of 2020, including holidays.
“Therefore, the budget for the salaries for the first term should be adequate to staff for at least three months,” noted Kakooza.
He advised the owners of private schools to follow the example of government that is paying teachers and other public service workers their full salaries during the lockdown period.
He added that the Ministry of Education and Sports Guidelines for Staff Employment in Private Schools and Institutions No5(9) provides that school management shall pay the full-time staff during both school term and holidays.
“This is therefore to remind you that you are required to pay your employees during lockdown period in accordance with employment act and as per agreed employee contract,” Kakooza wrote.
The development comes at the time, Private school owners have set pre-conditions for the government ahead of partial school reopening, demanding relief food and exemption from paying local taxes and candidates’ registration fees for national examinations.
The National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA), also castigated government for excluding teachers from the government’s food aid to vulnerable groups yet they have persevered without pay after schools were abruptly closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The school owners are demanding that the government tests all students for coronavirus before reporting back to school and to also waive their water bills.
In his last address, President Museveni said that educational institutions will re-open on June 4, 2020, but only for learners in candidate classes and finalists.