The Ministry of Education and Sports has taken a firm stance to end the practice of teachers speculating or being seconded for recruitment into the education service through the newly established seed schools across the country.
This development comes as numerous teachers have been lining up to act as volunteers at several seed schools, which are yet to be fully operationalized or those that are operating with staffing gaps. In a letter to all local government accounting officers, the acting permanent secretary Dr. Jane Egau said that information has been availed to her office of recruitment and secondment of staff to these schools with a view that their appointment will be regularized by the Education Service Commission.
“The purpose of writing this letter, therefore, is twofold to; a) inform you that the ministry will issue additional recruitment guidelines…b) notify you that all positions in these seed schools will be advertised by the education service commission and filled on a competitive basis,” the letter reads in part. Uganda Radio Network conducted interviews to better understand this phenomenon. According to some teachers, they had been hoping that by volunteering at these schools, they would be given priority when the official recruitment process commenced.
One teacher from Wakiso, Abdu Musana, shared that some teachers allegedly resorted to paying money to education officials in order to secure volunteering positions or be seconded at these schools. “Such practice has been happening with teachers paying some money to headteachers such school or education officials to be let volunteer at the school,” Musana told our reporter over the weekend. However, our reporter could not independently verify this claim regarding the exchange of money as Musana gave no proof of this allegation.
Another teacher from Masaka, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed that the practice of speculating at seed schools was well-known within the teaching community. They revealed that they had considered trying it out at seed schools in Lukaya, Kalungu district, and Bukakata, Masaka district. The teacher explained that the belief among volunteers was that those who dedicated their time would have a better chance of being directly recruited once the official hiring process began.
“It was said that those volunteering would be kind of taken over direct to the payroll when recruitment starts. And I was ready to start volunteering at Bukataka Seed School which had opened without enough staff,” the teacher noted. Through several interviews, our reporter also learned that local leaders have been “ring-fencing,” positions at the schools even those, that are not yet complete, and some had sent list of teachers they second to be regularized as staff of the schools upon completion and eventual operationalization.
Regularizing staff in schools is not a new practice, especially when the government takes over or codes a community school. In such cases, the existing staff members are usually integrated into the official payroll. However, Dr. Egau clarified that this policy cannot be extended to seed schools.
“The seed schools with the exception of schools that were legally in existence before 2019, are deemed non-existence and therefore have no staff…when the school is operationalized, the ministry through the education service commission will advertise all the existing vacancies including the posts of headteacher and deputy headteacher,” her letter added.
In addition, the acting Permanent Secretary issued a warning against neighboring private schools and their teachers who claim to be affiliated with seed schools. She added that such claims will not be taken into consideration for merger and recruitment processes. Dr. Egau also emphasized that any form of lobbying by individuals or groups on this matter is unwarranted and will not influence the official recruitment proces