The Ministry of Education and Sports Uganda has justified the establishment of the National Teacher Council (NTC) and Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education (UNITE).
According to Jane Egau Okou, the Director in charge of Higher Education and TVET at Ministry of Education and Sports,Uganda, the entities will focus on improving the quality of teachers through professional teacher education and training.
She said this in a meeting with MPs on the Committee of Education and Sports, on Wednesday, 26 July 2023.
The team from the ministry was led by the Minister for Higher Education, Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo.
Egau said the decision to establish the entities was reached at through a two-year study and report on teacher issues in Uganda, carried out between 2010 and 2013.
“The study indicated that the quality of education is going down, reflected in assessments that we do annually and the key factor is the teacher. It recommended that the quality of the teachers needs to be addressed,” said Egau.
She said the report also cited issues related to teacher professionalism, young primary school teachers and limited teacher deployment across the country.
The report raised the need for an institute focusing on teacher training as well as a regulatory body to promote professionalism of teachers, thus the need to establish the Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education.
“We also need to improve on teachers’ welfare because their morale is very low due to little remuneration. We need to standardise teachers from the kindergarten level to tertiary level,” Egau added.
MPs expressed concern about the closure of 23 primary teachers’ colleges (PTCs) in a move by the Education Ministry to rationalise and re-purpose 46 institutions.
Earlier, a letter by Egau issued on 16 March 2023 indicated that 23 core PTCs would become teacher training institutions whereas 23 non-core PTCs would be re-modeled to become technical and health education institutions.
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West County) proposed that the committee carries put an on-spot assessment of the teacher training colleges.
“They have talked about quality and age of teachers but we need to see whether they have teachers to recruit and what is happening in these teachers’ colleges that have been closed,” said Ssewungu.
Hon. Geoffrey Macho (Indep., Busia Municipality) said some religious leaders in Eastern Uganda established primary teachers’ colleges which are among those being closed.
Egau said that a report of a study done by the National Planning Authority in 2021 recommended the closure of the 23 non-core institutions.
“They looked at the implementation and teaching of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and recommended that we have more teachers than we need in the system,” she said.
Egau added that UNITE will bring the five national teachers’ colleges and 23 core primary teachers colleges together, to become campuses of the institute.
“We are also taking stock of the other PTCs that are being phased out, to know what we are handing over so that the next user can re-purpose it to ensure the needs of the new institution are met,” she added.