After months of delay, the Ministry of Education and Sports is in the final stages of finding how the 20 billion shillings for private school teachers promised by President Museveni is going to be managed.
This is after the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza announced that the due diligence of WALIMU SACCO as the proposed fund manager is almost complete.
In one of his COVID-19 addresses to the nation, months ago, President Museveni offered a grant of 20 billion shilling as a relief fund to support teachers’ SACCOs in private schools occasioned by loss of regular income as a result of enforced closure of schools.
The funds were provided as part of “Emyooga” programme through the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC).
However, the Ministry of Education and Sports and a section of beneficiary teachers observed two issues that would potentially undermine the effort.
These noted that most teachers in private schools are not organized under SACCOs through which they could access the funds from Microfinance Support Centre, and that Microfinance Support Centre would not be able to identify the genuine private school teachers and may not have an effective mechanism to disburse the grant to these teachers.
In light of the above, President Museveni guided that the funds be removed from the Emyooga programme in MSC and be disbursed to a revolving fund that teachers themselves would manage through their structures.
The Education Ministry has since engaged seven organizations that came forward to represent teachers in private schools.
It had been agreed that the grant should be managed as a revolving fund managed by a component fund manager who is to be procured as per the laid down Government procurement regulations.
Following a series of engagements, the Ministry realised that the organizations that came forward to represent teachers did not actually represent the majority of teachers.
The Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza said none of the organizations has the membership of teachers in private schools across the country.
Kakooza further noted these organizations did not have the structures at grassroot level through which the teachers could access the funds.
Consequently, it was resolved that the Ministry of Education and Sports immediately embarks on organising teachers in private schools so that there is a representative structure at school, district and national levels, through which the teachers can access the funds.
It was envisaged that these structures at district level would eventually lead to the establishment of a national Apex SACCO for all private school teachers to manage their own funds.
The Ministry then issued a circular to all District Education Officers (DEOs) with guidelines on establishing district structures of private school teachers and electing two representatives to the national level meeting which will be organized by the Ministry in mid January 2021.
Kakooza has now issued a statement reminding DEOs to expedite the process of establishing school and district associations of private school teachers as guided by the circular and send names of the district representatives to the Director Basic and Secondary Education by January 8, 2021.
Kakooza however noted, “in the meantime, as agreed with the organizations that came forward to represent teachers, the Ministry is working on securing a fund manager for the grant.”
“The due diligence on WALIMU SACCO, as the proposed fund manager is nearing conclusion,” he added.
Kakooza informed all the teachers and the general public that the delays in operationalizing the funds has been occasioned by the need to ensure a fair and sustainable mechanism put in place to manage the funds.