By Vision Reporters
A cross section of teachers in several districts has ended the strike, defying their union's stance to hold onto the industrial action which started last week on Monday.
A couple of government-aided schools surveyed Monday in Mukono, Buvuma, Buliisa, and Soroti districts had opened with normal class lessons going on.
Teachers at Soroti secondary school in Soroti Municipality were invigilating the ongoing A' level national exams when New Vision visited in the morning.
Teso College Aloet head teacher, Sylvester Oceatum, also confirmed on phone that his staff was teaching.
By 9:00am Monday, many schools opened in Buliisa after hundreds of teachers resumed work.
This followed intervention by Bunyoro Affairs state Minister Ernest Kiiza who met the teachers at the district community Hall on Sunday and convinced them to resume work.
"Schools like Kisabya, Uganda Marty's and Biiso primary schools. May be by tomorrow (Tuesday) the enrollment may increase," a teacher who did not want to be quoted said on phone.
Schools in Mukono and Buvuma districts also opened following a teachers' meeting with the state minister for higher education, John Chrysostom Muyingo over the weekend.
A number of schools in Mukono Municipality surveyed by Mayor Johnson Muyanja and Principal Education Officer, Margaret Nakitto, yesterday morning were found operating normally.
Aidah Namubiru, the deputy head teacher at Mukono Muslim Primary School said that they held a staff meeting in the morning and delivered Muyingo's message which teachers accepted.
"Teachers have accepted to teach and they are all in class. Unfortunately, we have got low turn up of pupils. I am now appealing to the parents to send us pupils because we are no longer on strike," Namubiru said.
However, some schools remained closed. Pupils in upper classes at St Mary's Madera Girls school in Soroti spent the day playing and revising as a few teachers sat around the school compound.
At Pioneer and Kichinjaji primary schools, also in Soroti, both pupils and teachers were absent.
"We are approaching our final exams (PLE) but teachers are not willing to help us, not even guiding us in revision. When you call them, they say 'no'," said a pupil at Madera.
In Kampala, Buganda Road, Nakasero, and Bat Valley primary schools also remained closed. No teacher could be seen at the school premises although a few pupils were playing in the compounds.
At Old Kampala Secondary school, only Senior Four (S4) and S6 candidates held group discussions in class rooms and compound, with few administrators seated in offices. Other classrooms were empty as no teachers could be traced.
Meanwhile, the national teachers' union (UNATU) leaders yesterday rejected education minister Jessica Alupo's pleas to call off the strike.
During the meeting at Statistics House in Kampala afternoon, UNATU boss James Tweheyo condemned the Government for intimidating teachers on strike, saying it was labour laws.
"Government should stop pretending and hoodwinking the public that our salary demands came late in the budgetary process because they committed themselves way back in 2011," he said.
However, state minister for privatization in the fiancé ministry, Aston Kajara, said sh2.4trillion or a quarter of the national budget goes into salaries for civil servants.
Of the total expenditure on salaries, sh865b (35%) is spent on staff in the education sector.
"Our payroll is rotten; we are paying more money to ghosts than real people. We are now cleaning the payroll to use the ghosts' money to increase salaries for teachers," Kajara said.
Alupo reiterated that increasing teachers' salaries was not tenable this financial year. Instead, she said, Government will construct more staff houses at schools and provide sh25b to the teachers' SACCO in five years so as to improve their welfare.