EDUCATIONISTS WORRIED OVER A FUTURE TEACHER CRISIS
By Van Deguras
RUKIGA: Educationists are worried about the future of teacher shortages in both public and private schools due to the National Teacher Policy in Uganda.
According to the Rukiga Principal Inspector of Schools, Mr. Ndyabegyera Christopher, following the closure of all primary teacher colleges (PTCs) in the country, they are expecting a crisis of teachers in both government and private schools.
Mr. Ndyabegyera was addressing the Rukiga District Private Schools Association members at All Saints Church Muhanga on Friday.
The PTCs, which were enrolling S4 leavers pursuing Grade III, certificates in early childhood education, and Grade V teaching qualifications, were closed in favor of a bachelor’s degree in education.
The Rukiga Principal Inspector of Schools said that teachers with Grade III up to Grade V certificate holders were given a period of nine years to upgrade starting in 2019, now remaining with only four years, stressing that a number of them may fail to upgrade, hence their removal from payroll by the government.
“We had our Primary Teachers Colleges (PTCs) enrolling S4 leavers pursuing Grade III, certificates in early childhood education, and Grade V teaching qualifications, but they were closed in favor of a bachelor’s degree in education, meaning that every teacher now must go for a degree if he or she is to remain in service.” “They were given nine years to upgrade now with only four years remaining, so I doubt that a number of them may fail to upgrade and be thrown out of the service, and this will cause a teacher crisis in schools,” he remarked.
He also told participants that in the 1980s, a P7 grandmother would go for a 4-year degree in primary teacher training institutions, later train for two years and get a grade III teacher training certificate ahead of upper grades to a grade V/a diploma (DEP), and if need be, continue for a bachelor’s degree in primary education (BEP) and furthermore to a master’s degree in education.
“In the 1980s, one would complete P7 and go for 4 years in primary teacher training institutions, later train for two years and get a grade III teacher training certificate ahead of upper grades to a grade V/a diploma (DEP), and if need be, continue for a bachelor’s degree in primary education (BEP), and furthermore to masters of education,” Ndyabegyera noted.
The new changes are part of the government’s move to streamline, professionalize, and improve the quality of teacher education hatched in the 2019 National Teacher Policy that requires all teachers from pre-primary to have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree.
Nursery school teachers ask the government to enroll them.
According to the Rukiga district Private Schools Association Chairperson in Charge of Early Childhood Development, Ms. Annitah Namara, there is a need for the government to enroll early childhood teachers, saying they are fully fit for the profession.
Namara, who doubles as the Head of Nursery Section at Kamwezi Primary School, said that she has heard a number of complaints from her fellow counterparts, saying that the primary level heads to which their nursery school is attached normally hide information meant to benefit them once it lands in their offices.
“As a member of the Rukiga district private schools association representing the nursery section, my fellows normally complain of not getting appropriate information as it should be once received by the primary school heads. At times Nursery School teachers can be called for a workshop, and you find the head teacher of a primary level to which the Nursery School is attached, who is supposed to be referring the information to a nursery section, sitting with it or going there himself or herself because either he or she wants to benefit from it,” she said.
The Rukiga district Private Schools Association brings together school proprietors and school heads from the nursery level to the secondary level. It started in 2018 and now has 42 subscribing members.
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