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HomeNATIONAL NEWSMACMILLAN WABUTEYA: Proposed Primary Teacher Training a Dilemma To Uganda’s Education

MACMILLAN WABUTEYA: Proposed Primary Teacher Training a Dilemma To Uganda’s Education

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By Macmillan Wabuteya

Guided by the 2018 National Teacher Policy, the government of Uganda mooted a plan of having all teachers both in nursery and primary schools attain qualification of a degree in education. This is being worked out by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The line ministry indeed conducted a research and came out with some recommendations as provided in the 2018 National Teacher Policy, whose implementation commenced in 2019.

Among the policies to improve on teaching and learning was that all teachers have to pursue degrees at a certain point in life. In this, the Minister for Education and Sports, Mrs Janet Museveni guided that the count-down for a degree requirement be 10 years from the time when the National Teachers’ Bill is passed into Law.

This is commendable but given the dynamic politics of Uganda, this pronouncement is likely to hit hard with the selective justice that is being practiced in most of our government institutions and this will affect the implementation and training of teachers right away from primary to tertiary institutions.

Initially, the entry point for the Primary Teachers Colleges was Uganda Certificate of Education with credit in English and Mathematics for a Grade Three certificate and subsequently one would climb the ladders of education from a diploma to a degree level. And many of our experts passed through that.

However, now the greatest challenge that is going to hit the implementation of the 2018 National Teacher Policy is the fact that, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni a few years ago raised yet another bar of requirements.

President Museveni is now an ardent preacher of science subjects i.e., for one to qualify to join an institution, they must have passed science subjects. The common science subjects include Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture. Short of that, it’s going to be an encumbrance of universal teacher training.

This arrangement looks like a new one that will complicate the earlier arrangement of the Ministry of Education and Sports. And is it going to make the further studies of teachers, most of whom did not pass well science subjects.

Because the 2019 policy seemed to have been re-structured by the presidential decree that necessitates all the Primary School Teachers attain Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education and then to university before starting to teach.

If that is true, then it will also affect the already staggering teacher-pupil ratio of 1:53 which has not even been realized even in the top public schools in Kampala, Jinja, Mukono, Wakiso and Mbarara. So, how will this be realized? And what will be its impact when schools are understaffed?

Indeed the idea faced stiff resistance from the Parliamentary Education Committee that sought robust explanations from the line Minister over the policy. And true, this was not clearly explained to Ugandans.

It is true that our policymakers want our country to attain a frog leap in education so that we are at the same footing with the western world but we need to follow the correct procedures to reach where we want.

Yes, every Ugandan should be happy given the fact that, Ministry of Education and Sports has announced a total of 6,116 government scholarship slots to be awarded certificate holder teachers who want to upgrade to a Diploma in Education Primary.

Then the other 1,980 slots to be awarded to teachers who will enroll for a Diploma in Education, Early Childhood Development who will study in the 23 Core Primary Teachers Colleges under Kyambogo University and the five National Teachers Colleges spread across the country.

But I am again seeing a challenge here. In the spirit of privatization and liberalization of the education sector, the government seems set to fail the private institutions. At first it recognized the existence of private schools ranging from primary to universities so long as they operate under the framework of government as set by ministry through its agencies like Directorate of education standards, and National Council for Higher Education among others failing the private sector because no mention of a private university has been done by the Ministry of Education and Sports singling out a particular private institution.

This dilemma has caught the education sector especially the primary schools where no production of teachers is ongoing yet the turnover of primary teachers through retirements, voluntary resignation and other reasons keeps on growing day in and day out. Investors are opening up new schools every day and the need for qualified teachers is growing; however no work is in progress as far as training teachers is concerned.

Hitherto the above policy, if this takes effect, Ugandans are likely to witness the first batch of Primary School Teacher graduates 2029 from now. If that is the case, where does this leave our ever growing young population? Yet the public is asking when is the policy guideline of recruiting S6 leavers into primary teaching coming out?

The writer is an MBA student of Busitema University

Email: [Email Protected]

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