Hajj Muhamood Kateregga, the chairperson of the Education Committee at UMSC, says the ministry has over the years favoured non-Muslims when appointing IRE teachers, which amounts to undermining their faith.
The Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC has
resurrected its longtime complaint against the Ministry of Education and
Education Service Commission in particular for allegedly sidelining Muslims
during the appointment and promotion of teachers.
The fresh dispute stems from the recent promotions of teachers where the Education Service Commission promoted four assistant education officers to teach Islamic Religious
However, to the dismays of Muslims and UMSC, none of the
four assistant education officers are Muslims. Hajj Muhamood Kateregga, the chairperson of the
Education Committee at UMSC, says the ministry has over the years favoured
non-Muslims when appointing IRE teachers, which amounts to undermining their
“To make it worse, the ministry deploys
non-Muslims IRE teachers in our schools, which is unfair since no Christian
schools have ever been given a Muslim to teach Christian religious
education-CRE,” he noted.
Hajj Kateregga says that although it is
not compulsory that only Muslims should teach IRE, the ministry should be
considerate while considering those posted to Muslim schools.
However, Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the Secretary
Education Service Commission refutes the claims of bias noting that teachers
are selected on merit as opposed to their religious affiliation.
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Apart from competency, Lukwago says that in past
years the Commission could rarely get applications from Muslims to teach IRE
since it was not being taught as a teaching subject at Grade V level.
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However, Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu, the Secretary
of Education at UMSC contests Lukwago’s argument, saying that there are many
Muslim IRE teachers registered by the Ministry of Education but at many times
they are not shortlisted.
“Muslim teachers are available. Most of our
schools are employing them through PTA on a contract basis. We have their
lists, some teachers have applied more than thrice but they are never
shortlisted,” he noted.
He also says that there are also structural
challenges as students of Religious Studies at Grade V level are only taught
CRE leaving out IRE.
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To Sheikh Bakhit the problem goes beyond IRE
teachers as Muslims have been generally sidelined when it comes to appointments
and promotions in the education sector.
“We have been documenting everything. Muslims are
not given equal opportunity like other candidates. This is something we have
complained about over years. We are also preparing to meet the new permanent
secretary over the same," Sheikh Bakhit noted.
He also noted that they want the ministry to stop
appointing non-Muslim teachers as heads of Muslim-founded schools.