As Uganda celebrated World Teachers Day recently, National Teachers College (NTC) principals have asked the government to recruit more instructors as well as increase funds to teacher colleges.
NTC heads observed that the teaching profession is attracting more students yet the number of instructors is dwindling as years go by. Benjamin Turyahikayo, the principal and NTC Kabale, said despite the improvement of infrastructure and the profession giving a good impression, NTCs are overwhelmed with the high turn up yet the tutors' number remains the same.
“We are asking to recruit more instructors; some have long retired while others have died but there have been no replacement yet the numbers are increasing,” he said at NTC Teachers’ day held on October 2.
Each year in October, the world celebrates Teachers’ Day in order to honour the teachers for the special contribution to the community; but this year, prior to the national event that fell on October 5, NTCs celebrated the World Teachers Day earlier to specifically focusing on the contributions of the National Teachers Colleges to education.
This year’s celebrations were held at NTC Kabale and presided over by the ambassador of Belgium to Uganda Rudi Verstraeten. Turyahikayo also explained that government provides Shs 1,800 for each student at NTC to cover the basic requirements of learners and general maintenance costs per day; yet this is too little to cater for expenses with the increasing inflation.
“This is the amount we have been receiving for the last 12 years, this is very little and if you take into account the rising costs of living, managing these students is a challenge, Shs 1,800 cannot even buy a kilogramme of posho,” he said.
Francis Kamulegeya, the Mubende NTC principal, said his institution is facing acute shortage of instructors.
“Several staff are going to retire in this current financial year, ministry of Public Service should ensure that should get us more instructors; we don’t have ICT managers, ICT lecturers, drivers, plumbers and this does not apply to Mubende NTC alone,” he said.
Kedrace Turyagenda, the commissioner, education standards at the ministry of Education, said like the rest of social services, tutor recruitment is work in progress.
“It’s true we don’t have enough instructors and infrastructure but as you can see, with the help of Belgium’s Enabel, the Belgium Development Agency we have set up teacher training education project,” she said.
According to Turyagenda, the project aims at improving the quality of education in secondary school teacher education by strengthening the professional competencies. The project is undertaken in five national teachers colleges which are also under renovation and they are Mubende, Muuni, Kaliro, Kabale and Unyama.
“NTCs have not been having enough infrastructures but Enabel and ministry of Education and Sport are working on that, we’re also finding ways of recruiting staff and also ICT systems can be enhanced,” she said.
Veestraeten said education is important since it can help empower people to pull themselves out of poverty and so country can achieve development if it does not invest in human capital.
“While Enabel and government is expanding and rehabilitating infrastructure in the five colleges for the benefit of students and teachers…last year we did a tracer study among 2017 graduates from NTCs and found that 83 per cent gained employment in 12 months,” he said.