The Minister of State for Higher Education, Dr John Chrysostom Muyinyo, has vouched that elevating the minimum entry requirement in the teaching profession to a bachelor’s degree in education will better the education quality and also nip in the bud the challenges that have entrenched teacher strikes.
Muyingo said that the degree requirement is justified by the fact that whereas teachers are role models in the society who need an upright status, their position in the society has lately declined, impacting on quality of learners.
“A degree status will bring back confidence and respect for a teacher and also improve the image of the profession,” he said.
The minister was submitting a ministerial statement on the teacher policy during the plenary sitting of Tuesday, 5 November 2019 chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
A recent study by the education and sports ministry (2019), the minister revealed, indicated that the demand for Grade V teachers in public secondary schools has declined and that 86 percent of them can only find employment in private schools where they are greatly exploited.
“Upgrading their qualifications will improve their employability and also boost their morale” said Muyingo.
Muyingo believes that with this policy, Uganda will reap big from a population of skilled teachers and ultimately quality of students. “The level of content and delivery skills provided at degree level is higher and therefore, teachers will be more empowered,” he told MPs.
According to the minister, the government has set a 10 year transition period by which all teachers are required to upgrade. Teachers who do not heed to the call will stagnate at their current salary scales and may be scrapped off the payroll.
Parliament cognisant of a range of issues within the education sector the public want addressed, asked the education ministry to draft a Bill encompassing not only teacher issues but the wider challenges, including those of learners.
Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba (IND, Ndorwa County East) noted that there is a possibility of the ministry implementing the policy without a legal framework citing a similar instance with the sugar policy.
Niwagaba’s submission prompted the Speaker to direct a halt in the policy implementation.
“We do not expect this policy to be implemented – this is just information for us. We request the minister to table the Bill,” said Kadaga.