The teachers covid-19 relief fund for private schools promised by President Museveni has been sent back to the Micro Finance Support Centre.
Last year, the government announced a revolving fund worth Shillings 20billion to support private teachers whose livelihoods were disrupted by the nationwide lockdown in March last year as part of the COVID-19 containment measures.
The government promised to release the money to help the teachers overcome the effects of the lockdown. However, almost a year after, the money has remained elusive with many people wondering whether it will ever serve the intended purpose.
Now in a new twist of events, the long-awaited funds have been sent back to the microfinance support centre.
The outgoing ministry of education permanent secretary Alex Kakooza says that the decision was made together with the national private school teachers association as they look for a competent fund manager.
In the earlier arrangement, the government had planned to channel the money to teacher’s SACCOs through the Microfinance Support Centre-MSC. MSC had projected to disburse a maximum of Shillings 30million to each SACCO with 30 teachers.
However, the former Minister In-Charge of Primary Education Rose Mary Sseninde and other officials on the task force which been formed to implement the programme noted that teachers could not meet the ‘tough’ requirements of the centre. These include that a SACCO should present a two-year record of audited books yet most of them had just been formed.
The funds were then transferred to the Ministry of Education. At this point, teachers were told that distribution was to start in two weeks but the programme hit a snag with officials noting that private teachers were not organized.
Kakooza asserts the apex body had to look for a competent fund manager but that process has dragged on and that is why they have decided to use MSC as a manager for the time being.
Kakooza says that there is a need to agree on the requirements that should be met before the actual distribution of the funds.