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MUSEVENI: We have not forgotten arts teachers

Museveni and Minister Janet Museveni. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has not forgotten the salary enhancement for arts, social sciences, or teachers of humanities, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said. He disclosed this in his remarks during the commencement of the 72nd graduation ceremony at Makerere University this morning.

According to President Museveni, the government decided to first sort out the scientists, who he said are vital for economic growth. “We insisted on giving good salaries to government scientists including teachers in the government Universities and secondary schools. This is not because we have forgotten the social scientists or art people. Not at all. It is because we can’t handle everything at ago. We have decided to start with the scientists,” he said.

The president’s remarks come days after arts teachers under the Uganda National Professional Arts Teacher Union threatened to lay down their tools unless the government increases their salaries just as it did for the science teachers.

The threats by the art teachers came days after their science colleagues called off their strike following the government’s commitment to increase their pay in the next financial year. According to President Museveni, the government decided to focus on scientists because they realized that artists depend on the work of scientists.

“The reason we insist on science is that it’s the base of social-economic progress. The invention of fire caused big changes in society, the invention of the iron caused big changes, and gun powder caused many changes in the world for good and evil. So science is the base for social transformation. The scholars and philosophers are students of social change but the trigger for social change is science. I appeal to Ugandans to understand this,” he said.

The Minister of Education and Sports and First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni shares the same sentiments. Early this month, during a meeting with journalists, Janet urged arts teachers to be patient as the government streamlined the salaries of all public servants.

The president made his remarks via a live broadcast from the State Lodge in Nakaseero. His speech and that of the minister were broadcast on three big screens at the university.  A total of  12,474 students are expected to graduate during the course of this week with degrees and diplomas in various fields.

Of these, 100 students will graduate with PhDs, 1,236 with Masters degrees, 10,998 with Bachelor’s degrees, and 140 with undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas. 52% of the graduands are female and 48% are male. On Monday morning, students from the School of Law, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Health Sciences graduated.  The graduation ceremonies are scheduled to end on Friday.