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Catholic-founded PTCs get core status

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th March 2001 03:00 AM

THE issue of controversial allocation of Core Primary Teacher Colleges (PTCs) resurfaced again last week. This time with the Minister of Education, Dr. Khiddu Makubuya announcing that four Catholic-founded PTCs had been upgraded to core status.

By John Eremu THE issue of controversial allocation of Core Primary Teacher Colleges (PTCs) resurfaced again last week. This time with the Minister of Education, Dr. Khiddu Makubuya announcing that four Catholic-founded PTCs had been upgraded to core status. Until Makubuya's announcement, there had been a tag-of-war between the Catholic Church and the government, first, over the rationalisation of PTCs which saw most Catholic-founded colleges closed and secondly over the allocation of the core PTCs. Many are wondering what the big deal was about these Core PTCs. The controversy over PTCs dates back to the appointment of the Education Policy Review Commission of 1987. The commission headed by Prof. Senteza Kajubi after a two-year work came up with wide ranging recommendations in a report popularly known as 'The Kajubi Report.' Among the many recommendations was the rationalisation of PTCs to make them more efficient and cost effective. Maj. Amanya Mushega, the then Minister of Education, partially implemented the recommendation by shutting 30 PTCs, reducing the number from 97 to 67. However, attempts by his successor, Prof. Apollo Nsibambi to close down another 30 sparked off a controversy from foundation bodies, particularly the Catholic Church who felt most of the closed colleges were theirs. The dispute sucked in opinion leaders and politicians opening another chapter of how Catholic-founded colleges were left out of the US $104m World Bank-funded Teacher Development and Management System (TDMS) project. It is under this programme that the Core PTCs fall. As opposed to the ordinary PTCs, the Core PTCs train both pre-service and in-service teachers. The ordinary PTCs only handle pre-service students, that is, those directly admitted from secondary schools. Core PTCs on the other hand give refresher courses to teachers and train untrained or under trained teachers already in service. They also train headteachers in school management techniques. "In the past, there was a belief that any good classroom teacher could become a good headmaster. But in modern management someone needs some basic training first to be more effective," says Dr. Khiddu Makubuya. Core colleges also supervise teachers in the surrounding schools, and there is a deputy principal specifically in charge of outreach programmes. The support to the teachers is channelled through a network of Coordinating Centres (CCs) conveniently located at model schools, around which other schools are clustered. There are 18 Core PTCs, 539 CCs and 25 or more schools clustered around each CC. There is a Centre Coordinating Tutor (CCT) in each CC where a well-stocked resource centre is built. Teachers in the vicinity who lack reference books make use of the resource centre. The CCT also moves into the field to check on how the teachers deliver in class. Remedial seminars or workshops are organised to perfect the teachers. The CCT also identifies volunteers to mobilise the community to support education. Because of their role, the Core PTCs are well-resourced. They are facilitated with a vehicle, a motor cycle for the CCT and bicycles for the community mobilisers. It was because of their high level of facilitation vis-à-vis ordinary PTCs that led to grumbling by the Catholic community. Of the original 18 Core PTCs, there was only one Catholic-founded, 12 were on neutral ground (government), five for the Church of Uganda (COU) and the Moslem community had none. The 18 Core PTCs were Bushenyi, Gulu, Bulera, Kabulasoke, Loro, Nakaseke, Ndegeya, Soroti, Mukujju, Moroto, Kitgum, Arua, Bishop Stuart, Bishop Willis, Shimoni, Nyondo, Kabale - Bukinda and Cannon Apollo. But Makubuya last week levelled the ground by announcing that four more Catholic PTCs had been elevated to core status. These were St. John Bosco Lodonga - Arua, St. Aloysius Ngora - Kumi, St. George Ibanda - Mbarara and St. Noah Busubuzi - Mubende. This now puts the Catholics at par with the Church Of Uganda, each with five Core PTCs. The Muslims will also have one such college, Makubuya said. Ends

Catholic-founded PTCs get core status

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