Uganda National Institute For Teacher Education Delays To Take Off

The proposed Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education-UNITE has failed to kick off. This is a specialized higher education institute for teacher education mandated with the supervision of teacher education programmes in all higher institutions

As part of the initiatives to raise the quality of teachers and teacher education in Uganda, the education ministry through the 2019 National Teacher Policy resolved that all teachers from pre-primary should have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree.

To implement the objective, the policy recommended the creation of a higher institution of learning dubbed Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education-UNITE to take on the role that had been informally played by Kyambogo University as inherited from the Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo-ITEK.

Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, the Director of Education Standards at the Education Ministry says that originally, they thought that the institute would start offering different programmes soon. Dr Turyagenda, who is one of the officials supervising the establishment of the institute, however, hastens to add that there have been several factors along the way that have caused the delay.

“Yes we have delayed but the process is now on. The UNITE establishment task force has already submitted the first batch of programmes to the national council for higher education-NCHE to be reviewed. People should be patient. The ministry will be informing the general public whenever there is a major milestone in the process that is covered,” said Dr Turyagenda.

There were proposals that the institute would take in its first students in August this year. However, Dr Turyagenda says it’s difficult to tag a date on the remaining process.

The failure to operationalize UNITE is creating a huge gap in teacher education since Primary teacher colleges and National Teacher Colleges were stopped from admitting new students. Additionally, few universities have degree programmes for pre-primary and primary teachers leaving those who want to become teachers with limited or no alternative.

The delay to operationalize the institute is also hurting the process of upgrading from the lower qualifications, which were scrapped. Teachers have up to 2030 to upgrade to degree level but many, more so those in primary schools cannot upgrade at the moment.

Turyagenda notes that teachers should be patient as their upgrading procedure and specifications will also be addressed as the process goes on.

Carol Kavuma, the Coordinator of the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education-UNITE establishment task force, says that the task force recently completed writing its final report, which they forwarded to the National Council for Higher Education-NCHE where it was reviewed and recommendations made to the Minister of Education.

Kavuma said that as the task force wound up its duties, much of the remaining process remained in the hands of the education ministry, top management and cabinet. She adds that the speed at which the said officials handle the matter will determine when the institute will open its doors.

If approved to start, Kavuma says that UNITE will start admitting students from five locations, which have been hosting national teachers’ colleges in Mubende, Muni, Kaliro, Kabale and Gulu districts.  The said colleges are already equipped and staffed given the fact that they have been offering diplomas and most of them have already been given facelifts thanks to Belgium funded ENABEL project.

At Shimon core PTC where the institute will operate, renovations are already ongoing to establish offices for the interim management of the institution. However, URN has also learnt that even if the institute is to take off this year, it might not offer pre-primary courses given the fact that programmes for this level are still under development.

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