Universities asked to relax tuition rules for degree-seeking teachers

A teacher supervises pupils as they write. FILE PHOTO

What you need to know:

  • The National Teacher Policy requires that all teachers must have a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree.

Educationists have urged universities and other institutions to consider designing a flexible tuition fees payment system that will enable teachers experiencing economic hardships to acquire degrees as required by the government.

Speaking at the 4th graduation ceremony of Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education in Kampala on Friday, the principal, Ms Stella Rose Akongo, acknowledged that as the clock ticks towards the 2030 deadline, pressure continues to mount among non-graduate teachers who are unable to sponsor themselves.

Ms Akong said if teachers are allowed to pay in manageable installments, it will be easier for them to upgrade. 
“The Teacher Policy is drawing everyone’s attention. We know that in a few years’ time, every teacher must have a degree. I appeal to training institutions to be flexible in terms of tuition payments so that more teachers can come on board,” she said.

“These are teachers and we know how much they earn. For us, that is of concern because we want the teachers to upgrade and have flexibility in paying and meeting up their tuition fees,” Ms Akongo added.
The salary entry point for Grade III teachers at primary level stands at Shs490,000, while that of a head teacher stands at Shs930,000.

Teachers’ salaries
For Secondary School, an Arts teacher with a diploma earns 745,000 while their counterparts in sciences earn Shs2.5m. Science teachers who are degree holders earn about Shs4m.
The 2019 National Teacher Policy requires that all teachers, right from pre-primary, must have a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree in Education.

The requirement will be fully operational in seven years’ time (2030).
At the Friday function, a total of 60 students were awarded certificates, diplomas and degrees in early childhood care and education, primary and secondary education, and school leadership and management. 
Ms Akongo also revealed that the Teacher Policy had seen the number of students enrolling for degree programmes at her institute rise by 40 percent in the past two years.
Mr Ivan Mukiibi, the academic registrar at Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education, said the government should consider granting teachers scholarships to enable them to go for further studies.
“We are happy that the government has thought about upgrading the skills of our teachers. However, the government needs to see how to support some of these teachers by offering scholarships,” he said. 

“We are sure many teachers want to be the best versions of themselves, but due to financial constraints, they are unable to do so,” he added.
However, Mr George Mutekanga, the assistant commissioner for private schools and institutions in the Ministry of Education and Sports, encouraged teachers to save some money and sponsor themselves.
“Acquiring the required qualification is a process. Teachers should sacrifice and save some money and go back to study. In the past, we used to train them as a government. Since they are upgrading, we encourage them to invest in themselves,” he said.

Prof Betty Ezati, the chairperson of Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE), who presided over the graduation ceremony, said the government’s collective vision is nurturing a culture of well-prepared and passionate educators for the nation.

The 2019 National Teacher Policy aims to professionalise the teaching profession to levels comparable with other professions like medical, engineering, legal, and accounting. It focuses on four key policy actions which are: standards and qualification, training, management, and cross-cutting issues.