I participated in a political radio talk show last Saturday and I heard different views of the people about the salary enhancement of science teachers.
The argument was that it's unfair for the government to consider only science teachers and leave out their colleagues who teach arts subjects. Some people said that it would cause some kind of conflict and disrespect at their places of work.
However much this argument could be correct, the president didn't say that the salary of the teachers who teach arts subjects shouldn't be enhanced. Frequently, we misinterpret the president's statements and mislead the public and sometimes lead to unnecessary demonstrations hence making students to lose out.
The president's argument is, and I think he's right, for now, let's consider science teacher's because we do not have enough money as a country to consider both science and arts teachers. Then when money is enough or available, the teachers who teach art subjects will also be considered so that there's harmony and equity in payments.
The president said so because the science teachers are few as compared to the number of the teachers who teach arts subjects. Today, if a school loses a teacher who teaches chemistry, it will be difficult to replace that teacher.
However, if the school loses a teacher who teaches history that one can be replaced within a day because they're many. Secondly, the president has always told us about innovation, science and technology. All the countries which are developed have focused on industrialization, being able to produce a lot and export to other countries.
For instance, in Uganda today we still import toothpicks yet we have trees all over the country. If we had the capacity we would be able to produce our own toothpicks using our trees and import them to other African countries.
We can only manage this if we focus on science, technology and innovation. This is possible if we keep scientists in the country and not running away for greener pastures or giving up on their professions to do other things which can't benefit the entire country.
Those who have been engaging in sit down strikes are also being unfair to the government, and the children they teach. Simply because when the government promises, it always delivers as promised. The only challenge has been the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which we are still recovering from.
It would be prudent and patriotic enough to keep at their workstations and keep serving meanwhile as government works on its promises of enhancing the salary of the science teachers. The teachers should remember that they were being paid when schools were closed during the Covid lockdown.
There's no single day the government stopped paying them when they weren't working, therefore they should be patriotic enough to understand the situation, know the government they're serving and keep at work stations.
People like soldiers work day and night and yet they earn little but you can never hear any of them complaining or laying down their tools in protest of poor pay. They still serve with passion and energy and they're always ready to carry on any assignments given to them, that's how we've been able to keep the country safe and secure from the enemies.
Payments are important, every worker should be paid, but sometimes some Ugandans act as if they're mercenaries. They behave as though they've been hired from foreign countries to work in Uganda.
There's no spirit of patriotism and commitment in them, all they see is salary enhancement and what they've gained but not what they've delivered for their own country.
This is a bad precedent that we are setting for our children and it might be hard to erase it from them. It might be difficult for us to develop our own country if we keep our focus and energy on what we take home as salary.
The writer is a deputy RDC Kyenjojo district