Following the outbreak of the Covid 19 Pandemic that affected business world over and interrupted the education sector of approximately 15 million learners in Uganda, Government took drastic measures to close all educational institutions of learning to curtail the spread of the virus which took a toll on the education sector and teachers’ fraternity.
During the first lock down in March 2020, government thought of various interventions to help teachers out especially those working for private institutions to have and maintain a livelihood.
he two-time nationwide lockdown announced by Government in March 2020 and June 2021 due to an upsurge in new cases, caused untold distress to both teachers leaving many stranded while others were able to think outside` the box to survive through the storm.
Last year the government of Uganda announced a revolving fund worth over 20 billion shillings as an intervention to help teachers out as a startup capital for other business venture.
Government had initially promised to release the funds to help the teachers overcome the effects of the lockdown, however almost a year later following the announcement and subsequent release of the funds, teachers are yet to receive the funds.
The money has remained elusive with many people wondering whether it will ever serve the intended purpose. In a most recent development, the funds were sent back to the micro finance support Centre.
The outgoing permanent secretary of the ministry of education and sports, Alex kakooza noted that this was due to the failure by the teachers to qualify for the funds.
Under the requirements, teachers would only be able to qualify for the funds through well managed teachers’ SACCOS through the micro finance support center.
The microfinance center had budgeted to disburse a maximum of 30 million shillings to each SACCO of 30 teachers.
Meanwhile, the former minister for Primary Education Rose Mary Sseninde, explained that she and other members on the task force committee that was instituted to implement the program discovered that almost the teachers could not meet the tough requirements set by the center.
The main requirement was that a teachers had to be a part of SACCO that had been around for two years and had to present a two year record of audited books.
Now Kakooza recommended that the requirements be revised to enable the teachers who have been languishing and perhaps the worst hit by the pandemic to also have a push in whatever ventures they have already started or plan to start but still lack resources and finances.
According to Teacher Racheal Namirimu of Victor Junior School Nabbingo located in Wakiso District, the effects of the lock down hit her real quick since the money they earn is just a “hand to mouth” kind of arrangement and she knew right there and then that she needed to do something extra.
“I did not waste any time and immediately took on the brick laying business which started off well but things later became challenging as the profits kept dwindling since I needed to inject in more and more capital” Teacher Racheal says.
She however says that she is not lacking with all individual basic needs and those of her family because of the proceeds of her small brick laying project.
Another teacher from Kinaawa high who spoke on condition of anonymity said he has since moved on and does not even consider going back to teaching as he has since discovered his other talent and capabilities in business.
“I actually discovered that working at one workplace is very toxic as it limits one’s ability” he adds. He says, for him, the challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic have been such an eye opener at how many other opportunities are out there.