There was uncertainty when many of the tutors questioned the nature of the training. The absence of a designated point of contact upon arrival only deepened their frustrations.
National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) Director, Grace Baguma before parliament's Education Committee.
A National Curriculum Development Centre training session came to an
unexpected halt on Monday after a group of Center Coordinating Tutors raised concerns about
inadequate accommodation and unclear communication from the organizers.
The Center Coordinating Tutors CTTs had been selected to undergo specialized
training as master trainers for educating other tutors and teachers in primary
and secondary schools in identifying and teaching learners with Autism, Gifted
and Talented abilities, and specific learning difficulties.
The tutors from across the country arrived in Kampala on Sunday, with
some heading directly to Kololo Secondary School, the venue for the training.
However, there was uncertainty when many of the tutors questioned the nature of the training. The absence of a designated point of
contact upon arrival only deepened their frustrations.
"The letter they sent was vague. It didn't clarify whether the training
would be residential or not. Many people came guessing. To make matters worse,
there was nobody to receive us. It was as if they were not expecting us. What
we went through at night was tough," one of the tutors complained.
CCTs are outreach
tutors responsible for providing continuous professional development
(CPD) for headteachers and teaching staff in about 50 primary schools
linked with the coordinating centers that act as their base.
The tutors insisted that the training would not
commence until NCDC officials clarified crucial details such as the residential
nature of the training and the amount allocated for their out-of-pocket allowances
among other issues.
During the discussion, tutors also opposed the proposal of sleeping in open
Saulo Timweboneire, the CCT from
Bishop Stuart Core PTC who is also one of their coordinators, emphasized that
as older individuals, they were entitled to privacy and should not be subjected
to sleeping arrangements of this nature.
Timweboneire pointed out that the provided bedding and mattresses were substandard and emitting unpleasant odors, which is dehumanizing.
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A visibly frustrated NCDC official
declared that those willing to stay could do so, while those unwilling were
free to leave, which some tutors perceived as a threat.
The official's remark became the decisive factor, prompting the tutor to
assert that the training would not commence under the current circumstances.
When Grace Baguma, the NCDC Director, arrived at the venue, the tutors warmly
welcomed her and requested an opportunity to express
Timweboneire conveyed their concerns expressing gratitude
for the long-overdue training on special needs while firmly stating their
inability to tolerate ill-treatment during the training. The coordinator presented their grievances, seeking understanding and resolution on the matter.
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Additionally, the tutors reminded Baguma that instances of disorganization were
not uncommon, citing past incidents where NCDC had failed to provide the
promised facilitation in advance.
They tasked the director to commit to
ensuring that the funds would be given before their departure on Friday, and they emphasized the importance of addressing these recurring challenges.
Goefrey Mfitimukiza, tutor from Kabale-Bukinda Core PTC suggested
that instead of paying the school for accommodation, the funds should be given
to them to secure better lodging facilities nearby. Additionally, they
disclosed that upon arrival in the evening, those in charge of accommodation
facilities were requesting them to pay 20,000 Shillings.
Baguma apologized to the tutors and acknowledged the
shortcomings in the communication conveyed through the invitation letters.
However, she expressed surprise at the focus of the tutors' concerns, noting
that the majority revolved around financial matters rather than the core
objective of special needs education that had brought them together.
Addressing the financial aspect, Baguma informed the tutors that they were
initially allocated an out-of-pocket allowance of 30,000 Shillings. However, this amount was rejected by the funders. Despite this setback, the center engaged with
the Ministry of Education, which managed to secure some government funds to
facilitate the tutors. She urged them to appreciate the effort made in securing
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Regarding accommodation, the director emphasized that Kololo SS had been
designated as an official in-service training center for the Ministry of
Education. Over the years, numerous cohorts had undergone training at the
location without any previous complaints.
Baguma expressed confusion as to why
this particular group sought different treatment, highlighting the historical
success of the training facility.
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Sarah Ayesiga, the Assistant Commissioner Inclusive and Non-Formal Ministry of Education and Sports, urged
tutors to accept the situation and continue training. Stressing the training's
substance over financial concerns, she emphasized that money issues should not
overshadow the program's essence.
Ayesiga reminded the tutors of the new teacher
policy mandating continuous professional development (CPD) and encouraged them
to approach this training accordingly.
She also informed tutors that future CPD sessions might require financial
contributions instead of an out-of-pocket allowance.
Ayesiga encouraged them to
see the current training as integral to their professional development,
aligning with evolving education sector policies.
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In response, the tutors stressed that if NCDC lacked resources, they shouldn't have arranged the training. They proposed that the session could have been organized in a college since they have accommodation facilities.
The director left the meeting abruptly, promising to return within an
hour to address accommodation concerns. There was deliberation
on whether to proceed with the training. However, the tutors remained firm,
insisting on the director's return before final decisions.
At 4:30 pm, the training had not
started, and the director had not returned, leaving the situation
unresolved. Tutors decided to return to their respective stations in
Over the years, the NCDC has accumulated a wealth of materials on Special
Needs Education. Unfortunately, a significant portion of these resources
remains unused on shelves due to financial constraints.
The NCDC recognizes that the lack of funds is the primary obstacle to
disseminating these valuable materials, including an adapted syllabus for
special needs education and a comprehensive guide to Ugandan sign language among others.
Despite the wealth of knowledge in these resources, financial limitations
hinder the effective sharing of these educational tools with the intended
audience, limiting their potential impact.