The Mukono Resident District Commissioner -RDC Fatuma Ndisaba Nabitaka has stopped the unnecessary arrests of teachers conducting private lessons in their communities as a means of survival.
Ndisaba says that due to the fact that schools have been closed for nearly two years under President Yoweri Museveni’s directive due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, private school teachers have suffered so much because their school directors could not afford going on paying their monthly salaries.
She says it’s then unfortunate for Police to witch-hunt those who decided to start coaching lessons with children in their localities as the only means of survival.
Ndisaba has been responding to concerns of different private teachers who reported to her that security operatives including Local Defense Unit-LDU and police officers keep arresting them when they find them conducting private lessons with a managed number of children from their residences.
David Kiwalabye, a teacher from one of the private schools in Central division of Mukono Municipality wonders whether President Museveni closed schools or he banned teachers from teaching business.
Kiwalabye says that despite their poor financial status resulting from the prolonged closure of their schools, police have kept on demanding bribes from them. He notes that Police hide behind charges of violating the presidential guidelines and ask them for more money than they get from parents.
The RDC has therefore given out her mobile phone numbers to the teachers as she warns that any police officer who arrests a teacher conducting private lessons with the children from his or her home will be dealt with accordingly. She says, this is the only way teachers in private schools have been surviving unlike their counterparts in the government schools who have since then kept on receiving their normal salaries.
“If you conduct those private lessons from your homes, not schools and with a manageable number of children not exceeding ten, no police officer should arrest you. That has been a means of survival for most of the teachers during this period.”
Ndisaba says it is not a crime for a teacher and parent to reach an amicable understanding in order to keep the children engaged and up to date even when the schools are still closed.
“If a parent reaches an agreement with the teacher to have private lessons for his or her children from the teacher’s home, that is not a crime. Therefore, if any police officer comes in to arrest you, all of you have my number, call me and I will deal with them.”
Over 460 teachers from private schools have been gathering at the RDC’s office to receive food relief donated to the district by Pastor Saul Yawe Kalya of Abundant Life Revival Ministries.
The package included 10kgs of maize flour, 3kgs of beans, and a bar of soap. Pr. Kalya says he responded to the call from RDC Ndisaba who told him that teachers in Mukono were starving.
Geoffrey Mayanja, on behalf of the private schools directors, appealed to teachers to go for COVID-19 immunization saying it is the only way schools will be opened after having all of them respond to that call.