By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU Main Campus - The Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) last week stopped payments for all its employees in the Catholic Church privately-owned education institutions across the country.
Through its dioceses, archdioceses and several specialized departments, the Catholic Church owns more than 6000 education institutions that employ hundreds of thousands of both staff and support workers. However, a portion of them is grant-funded by the government. More so, according to Uganda Schools guide, Catholic Church founded schools are 6,311 including 790 nursery schools, 4,998 primary schools, 519 secondary schools and 4 special needs schools.
Rev Fr Ronald Okello, who is the the National Executive Secretary for Education at UEC, in a letter that addressed to all diocesan and archdiocesan education officers, advised that seeing the effects and consequently the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the dioceses should suspend payments of all staff in privately owned schools.
“The money, we normally get from the learners…There is no money, we cannot keep and take from what we don’t have. There is no point in still paying you when the money is not there. At some of these schools, they are government-aided and so those ones government is paying salaries for their teachers. They are other teachers who are on private, they are paid on PTA. So those ones can’t because it is the parents to bring this money and then they are paid. It is suspension, we’re not dismissing them from work,” Fr Okello said.
In addition, he said that, “You need to notify your staff and mutually agree on unpaid leave especially those on active contracts.”
Dioceses like Masaka had already sent out messages indicating that they could no longer support their staff even before this declaration had been passed.
As it is, schools in Uganda have been closed since March this year when Uganda registered its first Coronavirus case.