I sat down and thought about the lamenting teachers especially those in private schools, the so called private teachers. Well as I do not agree with that nomenclature, society has embraced it. Think about it, how can a teacher who teaches citizens of the country be a private teacher? Leaving that aside, even the so-called Government teachers derive their livelihood from private schools because several of them commit their salaries to serving loans. With that put in context, the closure of schools has affected the whole human resource of the education sector. Mind you the Education sector could be the leading formal employer of people in Uganda. Myopically, individuals can look at the teachers as people who need sympathy because they have cried out loudly but please let us dissect the broader picture of the society.
Imagine the poor ladies who sell eats to school children as they go to school, forget these top-level schools were students eat biscuits. There are those who depend on the cassava and pancakes sold along the road side. These people now have their livelihood in a limbo!
Imagine the school vans which felly students every day to school in most parts of the country, they definitely consume fuel. So, by extrapolation these petrol stations are feeling the impact of closing schools.
Imagine the farmers who sell their produce to schools, they too have no market for their goods. Currently matooke is at less than 10,000 a batch in some parts of Uganda yet schools usually buy these in bulk to have dieted changes for students. Look at the financial coldness in suburbs and other suburbs surrounding Educational institutions. These people suffering are not teachers
Imagine those who deal in scholastic material like realms of papers, books, pens and pencils. They don’t have market now. The individuals who sell textbooks and all other reading material have had their sales reduce to zero percent.
I could go on and on extrapolating the effect of closure of schools to society because it is a cobweb. The effect of closure of schools should not be underscored to only the suffering of teachers but a broader picture needs to be painted. At the time of closure, statistics was given that schools hold 15 million students, this did not include the teachers and the support staff. If these are included, we could probably be talking about 17 million individuals. In a country of 40 million people, 17 million is a significant number in the micro-economy.
Do not be deceived that teachers will die in this game but the effects might not be easily reversed. Teachers are very adaptive and many of them have accepted the reality surrounding them, they are venturing in sectors which were deemed unworthy before the closure of schools. This definitely shows that the teachers are resilient but it will have a counter effect on the education system when schools open. Believe me, many schools are exploitative and never pay teachers what is their worth.
Wait for an exodus of previously seasoned and committed teachers out of the system because their monetary demands this time will be according to market value not sympathy.
Published with permission from Municel
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