By Leonard Kamugisha Akida and Winnie Nansamba,
Opposition UPC has asked government to fund programme for the upgrading of Grade III teachers one way of implementing the 2019 National Teacher Policy.
“UPC therefore appeals to government to come in and fund this in-service upgrading programme for pre-primary and primary teachers as a minimum standard,” Says Sharon Arach Oyat, the UPC spokesperson.
She was speaking to journalists at Uganda House on Wednesday.
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.
Government through the ministry of education had proposed for the establishment of the Uganda National Teachers Institute-UNITE as a training centre for awarding Bachelor’s Degrees to the affected teachers. However, it was later realized that the institute lacked 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, and the 23 core Primary Teachers Colleges under Kyambogo university.
UPC is concerned that with the current state inwhich Ugandan teachers are operating cannot allow them further their studies calling on the government to sponsor the programmes.
Last year, the Ministry of Education and Sports said they will fully fund upgrading Grade III teachers effective this financial year 2022/2023. The upgrading programmes are fulltime and holiday programmes.
Meanwhile, Arach has asked the government to stabilize fee structures in public and private schools, better teachers’ conditions and enhance their salaries.
“UPC urges Government to fulfil her promise and consider equitably enhancing salaries for the Primary school teachers and those of Arts and Humanities in the Post-Primary institutions in the budget for FY2023/2024 to avoid any industrial actions,” she said.