KAMPALA – Legislators on the Public Accounts Committee –PAC Central Government has condemned the proposed Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education – UNITE, concluding that it is likely to render university faculties and colleges redundant.
The legislators tasked John Chrysostom Muyingo –the Minister of State for Higher Education to explain the proposed establishment of the institute. The Minister was appearing before the committee on Tuesday to respond to audit queries in the financial year 2020/2021 report by the Auditor General on the Ministry of Education and Sports and cross-cutting issues about the line sector.
The National Teacher Policy, which was approved by Cabinet in 2019 states that UNITE, a typical university that will likely receive accreditation from the Uganda National Council for Higher Education, will take over 23 core primary teacher colleges – PTC and national teachers colleges as its satellite campuses and offer four-year degree programs for teachers. Medard Lubega Sseggona –the PAC Chairperson asked whether the education to be offered by the institute will be different from that offered by universities.
Jonathan Kamwana – the Commissioner for Teacher Education responded that a Teacher’s Education Council will regulate the teacher education program to ensure that only the best teachers enter schools. This did not go well with the MPs who argued that the system was likely to render teacher degrees from universities useless.
“This means you want to phase out education programs from universities. You need to go back and revise this,” said Sseggona.
Asuman Basalirwa –the Bugiri Municipality MP asked the officials not to relate the proposed Institute to the Law Development Centre – LDC.
He said that LDC’s purpose is different and designed to accommodate law students from everywhere. Basalirwa said that what is planned by the Education Ministry is likely to create discrimination in the labour market.
Sarah Opendi –the Tororo Woman MP questioned why the Ministry of Education was not seeking more resources from Parliament to increase the salaries of all teachers in order to motivate them and improve the quality of education. She said that instead of targeting teacher education, the Ministry should concentrate on better remuneration of teachers.
In response, Muyingo said that his ministry needed to sensitize MPs about the National Teacher Policy. He said that the quality of people that Uganda needs depend on quality education and the Ministry wants to ensure the professionalism of teachers.
Jane Egau – the Director for Higher Technical and Vocational Education and Training said there were several issues under the Teacher Policy, which resulted from studies carried out in 2013. Kamwana told MPs that the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education will have a specialised program for teacher-trainees.
“Other universities will benchmark from the institute. Those studying from the institute will train for four years whereas those from other universities will come to the institute for a one-year internship program,” said Kamwana.
Sseggona directed the Ministry officials to present the National Teacher Policy to the committee as well as the reports based on in rolling out such a program.
Additional reporting by URN