Principals of Primary Teacher Colleges (PTCs) have warned government to slow down the implementation of the National Teacher Policy which requires all teachers to have degrees.
The principals made the call during a workshop organised by the Ministry of Education officials at Kibuli Core PTC in Kampala yesterday.
Mr Joshua Muhindo, the principal of Mukujju Core PTC in Tororo District, said the decision to phase out PTCs by 2021 was rushed yet poor remuneration remains a key issue in the education sector.
“The law of precedence has a lot to do in cultivating interest and career guidance. How are we are going to call students to enter a PTC at A-Level when their fathers and mothers are no yet earning graduate and diploma salaries?” he asked.
Mr Muhindo said the move would require a lot of career guidance in secondary schools because students are the main feeders to PTCs.
Mr Muhindo proposed the policy should only come into force in 2023, saying government will have started paying teachers by qualification both in primary and secondary.
However, he welcomed the idea of national teachers colleges (NTCs) starting to offer degrees.
“Even if NTCs started degrees next year, it would be very okay because the entry requirements for a student in an NTC is the same for a person undertaking a degree. Our students have been wasting time to study diplomas for two years and then go for degrees,” he said.
Fr James Nuwagaba, the principal of Kisoro PTC in Kisoro District, questioned funding of the policy, saying unless government is involved, paying for degrees remains expensive.
“This policy is too good for Uganda. The Constitution advocates children to have a right to education but do their parents have a right to money to afford the education? The policy would have been good for us if government was offering all this education” he said. Mr Dauda Lubega, the Kibuli PTC principal, urged government to improve PTC infrastructure in order to offer degrees.
However, Mr Brighton Barugahare, the assistant commissioner for policy analysis at the Ministry of Education, said the policy aimed at improving quality of teachers.
He said salaries will be standardised after teachers acquire degree qualifications.
“If we have a uniform category of employees with degrees, then we can then look at salaries,” the ministry official said.
“The issue of salaries will apply to private schools as well because we don’t want to disadvantage teachers in private institutions. If you own a private education institution, you must meet the minimum pay standards of government,” he said.
On funding, Mr Barugahare said the ministry had received Shs6b for the implementation and hopes the budget will expand with the need.