Medard Ssegona, Chairperson Public Accounts Committee
A section of legislators have rejected the proposal by the Ministry of Education and Sports to create a new teachers training institute, saying there is no unique knowledge that the institute intends to offer teachers in Uganda.
This followed a question posed by Busiro East MP, Medard Ssegona, who tasked officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports to clarify on reports of plans to phase out National Teachers Colleges (NTCs) like was the case for Teachers Training Colleges in order to implement the policy of having all teachers qualify as degree holders.
Ssegona, who is also the Chairperson Public Accounts Committee, asked: “What is the contribution of Government towards upgrading of those teachers? What is your plan? Or you simply want to throw them out for those who don’t afford? And don’t forget the reason they can’t afford is because you have been paying them peanuts. Was it a review relating to quality?”
The Lawmakers on the Public Accounts Committee expressed their position while interfacing with officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports who had been summoned to respond to queries raised in the June 2021 Auditor General’s report.
Jane Egau, Director Higher Education and Vocational Training informed the Committee of plans to establish a National Teachers Training Institute that will oversee training of all teachers even across Universities but the NTCs will not be abandoned, instead, they will all be affiliated to the Institute.
“We are creating what we call the national institute of teacher education to take care of all the teacher training institutes otherwise, we aren’t abandoning any national teachers college, they will all be affiliated to this institute but it will all be done at degree level,” said Egau.
She went on to defend the establishment of the Institute noting that the decision was informed by a very comprehensive study that indicated that Uganda was having a challenge with its quality of teachers and another study by the National Planning Authority about the number of teachers also found out that Uganda is producing more teachers than needed at the moment, which calls for the need to check on the numbers.
“But also another study indicated that our grade VI Teachers are more and more losing ground and more institutions are wanting degree holders rather than the diploma holders and so we have so many of these diploma holders that aren’t employed in the system. The teachers that have already qualified from the National Teachers Colleges will be upgrade and government will take care of the upgrading,” added Egau.
However, Sarah Opendi (DWR Tororo) pointed out the contradictions, in the proposal warning that it would bring some discrimination amongst teachers not trained through the institute.
“I see contradictions, what will happen to teachers being you have Kyambogo University, Makerere University but here you are wanting to creat a national institute for teacher education and yet we used to have Kyambogo. You are going back in circles to create the same institute that you collapsed. The people who thought for this country and put these institutions, they weren’t dreaming,” said Opendi.
The Chairperson Public Accounts Committee, Ssegona asked the Ministry to go back and rethink on their proposal stating, “I can give you assurance, if you brought this in Parliament, I wouldn’t give you money to do this. I would tell you to go back, harmonise from the existing Universities, roll out a programme for training and provide the kind of training you want. Except if you tell me that when you establish this institute, you are going to phase out the teaching of education in these universities.”