KAMPALA —The Ministry of Education and Sports will sponsor 8,096 nursery and primary school teachers in what will be the first cohort of the mass upgrading programs for teachers.
In 2019, the Ministry phased out lower teaching qualifications including certificates, Grade III, and diplomas in a move to streamline, professionalize, and improve the quality of teacher education provided for in the 2019 National Teacher Policy.
The policy requires that all teachers from pre-primary should have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree by 2030.
A source from the department of Teacher Education and Development at the Education Ministry says that they have been working with Kyambogo University to streamline the admission of Grade III and Early Childhood Education teachers to pursue diploma courses in education. “The major issues have been worked out. The government will be funding 6,116 teachers to upgrade to a diploma in education primary and 1980 teachers upgrade to a diploma in Early Childhood Development,” a source noted.
Annie Begumisa, the Academic Registrar of Kyambogo University has also passed out information indicating that the upgrading teachers will be studying from study centers affiliated to the five National Teachers’ Colleges of Unyama, Kaliro, Muni, Mubende, and Kabale and the 23 core Primary Teachers Colleges that were not phased out.
Each of the above-mentioned institutions has been allocated a maximum number of teachers that can be admitted depending on the available capacity. For instance, 11 core PTCs will admit 200 students and 12 can only admit 170 students while some NTCs have over 360 slots.
Begumisa’s communication also indicates that besides the government-sponsored students, the university will also admit an additional 3,300 Grade III upgrading teachers on a private admission scheme.
“Applicants can fill the (application) forms online from the (university) website…on submitting the form, print out a pay slip and pay a non-refundable fee of shillings 50, 000,” Begumisa’s communication reads in part. However, the academic registrar added that online applications can be done from the respective study centers.
Along with having the necessary academic credentials, upgrading teachers must also hold a Teacher Management Integrated System- TMIS registration certificate, and at least two years of teaching experience. Beatrice Kayegi, the Principal of St. Noa Mawaggali Busuubizi Core Primary Teacher’s College notes that they have been informed that government-sponsored students will be required to pay functional fees and carry personal requirements.
“The last group of Grade III teachers will be leaving at the end of this year. We will have space for those upgrading but I have heard some teachers asking whether government sponsorship means they will not pay any single coin. They should know that there are some functional fees and requirements. This has been the arrangement even in Grade III. But this fee is not a huge amount of money,” the Principal told our reporter.
Ismail Mulindwa, the acting permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education says that this program will target mostly recently graduated and unemployed teachers who are willing to study a full-time program. He adds that teachers employed in civil service are not advised to enroll.
“The program suits those who are currently unemployed or those who are in the private sector and are willing to study. We know that many of our people want to upgrade but this will be done gradually. For instance, in the future, the ministry will develop a holiday mass program to ensure that teachers are upgrading so that we don’t deplete classrooms both in private and government schools,” Mulindwa said.