KABALE – Philbert Baguma, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) Secretary General has asked female teachers to desist from the practice of going to classes with their babies.
Baguma said that after giving birth, some teachers have a tendency of going to class with their babies which is unprofessional and also affects their service delivery.
He was addressing teachers on Saturday during a workshop of teachers from Kanungu and Kisoro districts facilitated by the Canadian Teachers Federation at Bukinda Core Primary Teachers College, Kabale.
Baguma said that teachers are given an opportunity by the existing guidelines to ask for a maternity leave when the pregnancy is between 36-38 weeks for 60 working days.
“After the 60 days leave, we do not expect the young child in class. We assume that after this, the child is at a stage where if you come with a babysitter at school, the baby can be safe and you meet them after classes,” said Baguma.
He said that as a Union, they are engaging government to ensure that it provides extra teachers to help learners in times when their teachers are off duty due to either maternity or sick leaves.
“Supposing a school has only 12 teachers and 5 of them are women, then 3 of them have left for a 60-day maternity leave, how will the learners be during such a season? That is why we need government to provide for extra teachers,” said Baguma.
He asked school heads to be responsible and exemplary leaders if their schools are to perform better in national examinations.
“There is a tendency of head teachers failing to report early for duty but tell teachers to always leave the number one position in the daily duty attendance book for them. If you are a good leader, you should be the first in school to sign so that the rest of the teachers will have no option but rather to show up in time,” he added.
David Muhanguzi Kaniga, the South Western Uganda coordinator for UNATU appealed to teachers to avoid a tendency of acquiring loans from unclear money lenders who later end up giving them unfavourable terms that affect their work.
“You find that a teacher has acquired a loan and without properly reading the terms and conditions then when time for payment reaches, he is busy struggling and absconding duty because he cannot handle the conditions,” said Kaniga.
Tom Obed, a teacher from Kanungu said that the workshop had helped them in acquiring skills they had taken time without thinking about their value.
“We have been operating in ignorance of the existing procedures but we are now informed and shall inform others as well on how best we can serve the learners in our communities,” he said.