The Ministry of Education and Sports has finally accepted to fully fund upgrading Grade III teachers effective this financial year 2022/2023, sources have indicated.
According to a source in the education ministry who asked to remain anonymous, this decision was made during a meeting on Tuesday of this week, reversing an earlier stance that the government would share the costs with the students.
“The teacher education department and other officials have been discussing several issues that needed to be ironed out before the upgrading programmes are rolled out, previously they had suggested that government caters for 70 percent of the tuition,” the source started.
Dr. Jane Egau, Director of Higher, Technical, Vocational Education and Training, confirmed the development and points out that while funds are available, people who are accepted could also need to pay some prerequisites and administrative costs. “We’ll make use of the already-allocated PTC and NTC funds, this suggests that enrollment must fit within the range of available funds,” Dr. Egau said.
Going by the annual number of teachers trained at colleges, government will fund about 8,000 students in the academic year 2022–2023. However, Jonathan Kamwana, the commissioner in charge of teacher education and development, says that information on the entire admission process will soon be shared through the communications office.
“We still have a few things that we need to iron out. the public and our teachers in particular should be patient,” Kamwana noted. “Soon, official communication will be made by top management either through the ministry’s spokesperson or any other means.”
In 2019, the government approved a National Teacher Policy which among other things requires that all teachers, right from nursery, must have at least a bachelor’s degree as their minimum education qualification.
The policy gave teachers with lower qualifications both in public and private schools who are willing to remain in service a period of ten years to meet the new standards. Grade III is the lowest qualification held by a primary teacher normally trained from Primary Teachers Colleges while grade V is a diploma.
In their initial plans, the ministry wanted to establish the Uganda National Teachers Institute-UNITE to among other things help the affected teachers upgrade. But, a few months ago, it was noted that the institute was still struggling to get accreditation from National Council of Higher Education.
To bridge the gap the ministry’s top management decided to allow holders of Grade III certificate and those with certificates in Earlier Childhood Education to start their studies from the five National Teachers’ Colleges, the 23 core Primary Teachers Colleges under Kyambogo university.
According to the arrangement as earlier communicated byKetty Lamaro, the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary, the colleges will be admitting students on full-time and holiday arrangements.
URN has also learnt that teachers on payroll role will not be allowed to enroll on full time arrangement so as to reduce on the risk of having public schools emptied as teacher’s rush to apply for study leaves.
“Those on payroll will be studying during school holidays,” our source said. “That’s is the arrangement. But their studies will also be catered for by the government. Already there is a provision of applying for study leave but it was discussed that leaving the door open might create a crisis in school since teachers are yearning to grade so as not be kicked out of service after the ten-year grace period.”
The source added that the full time programmes will be targeting unemployed teachers, those who had just graduated from the colleges and others who are willing. The education ministry is also expected to have several other meetings on the matter. In one of the meetings, they will be meeting principals from all colleges to among other things, clarify how the application and admission processes will be handled.