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New Changes in Teacher Education Mixed Bag for Tutors

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“We know that the changes are policy issues but there is a lot that needs to be asked. The ministry has left us in the dark, we don’t know what is happening next,” Herbert Ssemuwemba, the Principal Canon Apolo Core PTC in Fort portal, who also doubles as the vice-chairperson of PTC Principals told Uganda Radio Network.
Shimon Core PTC will be hosting UNITE as government phase out 23 Primary teachers' colleges.

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Both teaching and non-teaching staff in non-core Primary and National Teachers’ Colleges are part of those that will be affected by the implementation of the 2019 national teacher policy.  This week the Ministry of Education and Sports announced the implementation of the national teacher’s policy.   

Among the first issues to be handled was effecting the phasing out Grade III and V teaching qualification in favour of a bachelor’s degree in education across the board. Whereas changes have implications for practising teachers with the affected qualifications, the impact will be felt by tutors and non-teaching staff in 23 PTC earmarked for indefinite closure, which has triggered many questions among the affected people.

“We know that the changes are policy issues but there is a lot that needs to be asked. The ministry has left us in the dark, we don’t know what is happening next,” Herbert Ssemuwemba, the Principal Canon Apolo Core PTC in Fort portal, who also doubles as the vice-chairperson of PTC Principals told Uganda Radio Network.     

For starters, each college has an average staff ceiling of 60 academic staff. This means that 1,380 tutors in 23 non-core PTCs earmarked for closure have no idea where they are headed as it stands. Another tutor at one of the NTCs who preferred anonymity to speak freely on the matter notes that apart from the teaching staff on the government payroll, several others have been serving on contracts. All these will have to look for alternative employment. 

The changes are likely also to affect staff in core PTCs and NTCs despite the fact that these will remain operational given the fact that not all of them have qualifications of teaching in a degree-awarding institution.    

Jonathan Kamwana, the commissioner in charge of Teacher Education and Development, notes that after some time the Ministry will conduct an assessment of the current staff in the colleges to ascertain whether they are fit to teach degree programmes.      

//Cue in; “We shall validate…   

Cue out…in the ministry.”//  

Currently, all the eligible candidates for the post of tutor in Primary Teachers College and lecturers in NTCs are required to have a minimum of an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Teacher Education or an equivalent Honours Bachelors’ degree with a Post Graduate Diploma in Teacher Education.    

Information obtained by URN indicates that as the Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education-UNITE moves to attain accreditation for its degree programmes to be rolled out in the five NTCs, some tutors who have been training teachers at the five National Teacher Colleges who don’t meet the requirements will be dropped.  

Francis Kateregga, the Principal of Mubende National Teachers’ College, notes that given the benefits that will come along with the new tasks at UNITE, tutors without the requisite academic qualifications should take an initiative and upgrade.  

“I hear people crying out that they don’t have money to upgrade. Others are giving funny reasons. Imagine people who are going to be posted as lecturers at UNITE are more likely to have M6 salary scale, which is almost 4 million Shillings. Crying will not help. Those who want to position themselves for the juicy jobs will have to move out of their comfort zones,” said Kateregga. 

Hajji Abdul-Majid Nkuutu Kibedi, the Principal Education Officer in charge of Secondary Teachers’ Education in the Department of Teacher/Tutor advises those who want to keep training teachers to upgrade and attain the required qualifications.  

“Currently, with the help of partners, we are supporting 20 lecturers from different NTCs to upgrade and more might be added to the list to ensure that no one is left behind,” he said.

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