Ugandan teachers employed by private schools have had no income for four months since schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The schools normally rely on getting fees from parents and since the lockdown, no money has been paid.
A headteacher in the capital, Kampala, Miriam Susan Apolot told the BBC that she hasn’t been able to pay the teachers’ salaries since February.
At the start of the lockdown, the government had warned employers against laying off staff during this time. But school owners want to avoid keeping teachers on the payroll and accumulating months of unpaid salaries.
Some have been laying them off, with the promise that if things normalise, they would be considered for re-hiring.
The Private School Teachers’ Union argues that education is a public service and that the government should at least pay 50% of the private teachers’ salaries.
According to the head of the education ministry, Alex Kakooza, the government is not ignoring the plight of the teachers and is putting together a plan to bail out businesses – private schools included.
Meanwhile, some school owners are selling off their facilities.
On a property listing website, I found at least seven schools in and around Kampala that have been put up for sale in the past month.