THE Ministry of Education is planning to provide a special package for teachers in northern Uganda. The package is to encourage teachers who fled the region because of the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency to return to their former schools, according to the education and sports minister, Nam
The ministryâ€™s decision to give incentives to the teachers in northern Uganda is a step in the right direction. The ministry of health is also working on a similar scheme for health workers in hard-to-reach and inaccessible areas. The ministry wants these health workers to be paid hardship allowance in addition to their salaries.
There is a legitimate case for providing financial incentives to the teachers as well as other public servants working under abnormally harsh social conditions such as the war ravaged northern Uganda. Many public servants do not accept to serve in these areas. Those who accept to serve do so begrudgingly and regard it as a punishment.
Most public servants prefer to work in Kampala city or in other major urban areas where there exist more economic opportunities.
Health workers, for example, can easily find additional work in private clinics to boost their earnings. The schools in the urban areas can afford to pay top-up allowance to the teachers. In the war ravaged north, teachers cannot expect schools to pay them an allowance.
Consequently, government institutions in the remote areas including schools and health centres suffer from chronic and acute manpower shortages. Many schools in the remote parts of the north depend on untrained teachers.
Therefore, deliberate interventions must be made by the Government to make it attractive for public servants to work in these areas.
However, government as a whole should establish uniform policy for all public servants working in the socially harsh or inaccessible areas. It is not proper for each ministry to come up with its own policy.
Furthermore, all public servants in the areas designated as socially harsh should be catered for, not just teachers and health workers.
Hardship allowance for North necessary