THE Government has introduced a 30% allowance to primary teachers working in hard-to-reach areas. Currently, a primary teacher earns sh200,000 as basic salary.
THE Government has introduced a 30% allowance to primary teachers working in hard-to-reach areas.
Appearing before the committee of social services yesterday, education minister, represented by Mwesigwa Rukutana, said the allowance would be paid in the 2010/2011 financial year.
Currently, a primary teacher earns sh200,000 as basic salary. This means that teachers in hard-to-reach areas will earn sh260,000 monthly.
â€œWe want to control the rate of resignation of teachers who are posted to such areas by giving them an incentive,â€ Rukutana said.
Rukutana, the primary education minister, Kamanda Bataringaya and other officials of the ministry, were appearing before the committee, chaired by Rosemary Sseninde, to present the ministryâ€™s budget for this financial year.
Rukutana told MPs that the Ministry of Public Service determined the hard to-reach areas.
The districts, according to a list submitted to the committee, are those that are remote, insecure, have poor infrastructure, and suffered prolonged conflicts, are surrounded by water bodies or are mountainous.
Rukutana named the 21 beneficiary districts as Kotido, Abim, Kaabong, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Amuru, Gulu, Adjumani, Kalangala, and Mukono (islands of Buvuma and Koome).
Others are Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kisoro, Kanungu, Mayuge (Island of Malongwe), the Bukwa and Bugiri (Island of Sigulu).
The ministry has identified 1,040 teachers in six districts to kick-start the scheme.
Moroto has 372, Kotido 157, Nakapiripiriti 170, Kaabong 209, Kalangala 84 and Koome and Buvuma Islands in Mukono have 48. The scheme needs sh23b for the next two years.
Some of the money, Rukutana said, will be used to construct staff houses and provide transport to teachers during holidays to travel back to their mother districts.
The legislators welcomed the move, but wondered whether the education ministry advised the public service on which districts should benefit.
The MPs said most districts of the central region are also hard-to-reach, but were left out. They cited Butoroogo in Mubende.
â€œButoroogo is not accessible. Even when the committee visited the district during their tour of Universal Secondary Education and UPE schools, they failed to access the area. I pleaded with them but they could not,â€ Buwekula MP Bwerere Kasole said.
However, Rukutana advised Kasole to forward his concern to the Ministry of Public Service.
In a report after the tour, the committee recommended incentives to teachers who work in hard-to-reach areas.
The commissioner for basic education, Dr. Daniel Nkaada, however, said the scheme would only be implemented in UPE schools before it rolls out to other sectors.
â€œThe ministry is using this as a study to see how it operates. When it succeeds and when the ministry comes out with a clear definition of hard-to-reach areas, the scheme with roll out to other sectors,â€ Nkaada said.
Statistics show that 1,405 teachers work in hard-to-reach and hard-to-live in areas.
Nkaada explained that the scheme was approved some time back but the ministry could not implement it for lack of resources.
The allowances, Nkaada elaborated, will be sent to teachers separately (not with salary) every month, through the district chief administrative officers.
He revealed that instructors in the non-formal education centres in the hard-to-reach areas are also entitled to the 30% allowance. With a salary of sh90,000, they will now earn sh117,000.
The Government has been on pressure to introduce the allowance for doctors and teachers in hard-to-reach areas so as to retain them.
Teachers receive 30% hardship pay