The policy document also notes that teachers support the delivery of quality education under Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) among others.
Conan Businge is the Education Editor at New Vision
Cabinet last week approved the National Teacher Policy, which was drafted in two years ago. The National Teachers Policy has been designed to professionalize teachers, develop standards and improve the development, management, and utilization of teachers in Uganda.
Conan Businge dissects the policy and provides excerpts from the policy document.
Teachers are the single most important school-related factor affecting student learning outcomes; more than anything else.
Several studies have shown that the quality of education is to a large extent correlated and dependent on the quality of teachers.
As of today, as the new policy document notes, there are least 347,219 teachers are employed in public and private schools.
Government directly employs 266,290 teachers. Of these, 184,275 are in primary schools; 67,168 in secondary schools and 13,870 in tertiary institutions. There are more 750 tutors in Primary Teachers Colleges and more 227 in National Teachers Colleges.
The private sector directly employs 80,929 teachers. A total of 16,741 privately hires teachers are in Early Childhood Development Centres, 62,779 in primary schools, 31,841 in secondary schools, 1,120 in post-secondary schools and 289 teachers in the non-formal sub-sector.
The education ministry’s permanent secretary Alex Kakooza says the policy is meant to improve the quality of learning in the country. “All these teachers will be taken care of, by this policy.”
Kakooza adds that the policy’s vision is, “A transformed teaching profession and learning environment for a skilled and globally competitive human resource.”
Its mission, he says, “Is to produce quality, motivated, accountable and adaptable teachers that are responsive to education development needs.”
He also explains that the delivery of quality education to all by the government generally depends on many factors. These factors include but are not limited to;
• the curriculum (educational content).
• teaching and assessment (educational processes).
• learning environments (educational infrastructure).
• continuous professional development (to take care of the dynamic realities).
• effective teacher management.
The policy document also notes that teachers support the delivery of quality education under Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) among others. But, the new policy document in its preamble says that several studies have shown that the educational achievements of learners are unacceptably poor.
According to Kakooza, the policy is also meant to solve issues like teacher absenteeism, ineffective teaching, qualifications and standards, bad institutional leadership, and unethical behaviour. It will also pay attention to teacher regulation and professional development.
According to the policy document, “This is attributed mainly to the under professionalization of the teaching profession among others.
Accordingly, the National teacher policy provides a framework for professionalizing and standardizing the teaching profession in order to improve the development and management of teachers in the education sector,” reads an
It also notes that teachers are vital because of their impact on student learning.
Research shows that raising teacher quality leads to substantial gains in school performance. However, there are many important aspects of teacher quality that are not captured by indicators such as qualifications, experience, and tests of academic ability.
“The teacher characteristics that are harder to measure, but which can be vital to student learning need to be more prominent in teacher preparation and employment. Teachers’ importance is reflected in the size of the teacher workforce. Teaching is the largest single formal employer of graduate labour,” reads part of the policy document.
The state minister for higher education Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo also notes that the Government firmly believes that learning is not confined to the achievement of academic goals alone and can and should be promoted in a range of contexts.
Dr Muyingo explains that learning should be inside and outside the classroom. These he says include curiosity, concentration, creativity, confidence, collaboration; and competence which are the qualities that Government seeks to impart in learners.
The National Teacher policy concerns have increased in recent years due to the profound economic and social changes underway and the imperatives for education to provide the foundations for lifelong learning.
The government has been engaged in key curriculum reforms and has placed a stronger emphasis on gender equality within schools, incorporation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and integration of students with special needs in the education system. Such developments require a re-examination of the role of teachers, their preparation and work.
Benefits of the new policy
• Promotion and retention of the highly motivated, professional and ethically upright teaching force in Uganda.
• More effective management for better teacher productivity, discipline, retention, and motivation.
• More competent teachers that can effectively deliver quality learning outcomes and leadership at all levels of the education cycle.
• Standardization of the management, development, and practices of teachers.
• Cross-cutting issues streamlined into all aspects of teacher training, management and practice at all levels.
Who is the policy targeting?
• Teachers of Early Childhood Development programmes
• Teachers in primary Education level
• Teachers in Secondary Education Level
• Teachers in business, technical and vocational institutions;
• Teachers in other tertiary institutions.
It also targets other stakeholders such as parents, education providers, education managers and agencies, the private sector, CSOs, development partners, teacher unions and associations.
Policy Actions, strategies
The National Teacher Policy will focus on four key policy actions namely; Standards and Qualification, training, management, and cross-cutting issues.
The National Teacher Policy will put in place the Minimum professional standards and qualifications for the teaching profession. The standards to be developed and implemented will define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees, teachers and school leaders. This will be achieved through the following strategies:
• Development and implementation of a Teacher Qualifications Framework
• Implementation of the developed competency profiles of teachers, teacher educators, and school/institutions leaders.
• Subjecting all teachers in tertiary institutions to basic pedagogical/andragogic training before being certified to teach in these institutions.
• Development and implementation of standards for teaching and leadership in educational institutions.
• Establishment of a National Teachers’ Council by an Act of Parliament to regulate the teaching profession within the country. This applies to teachers in government and private schools and institutions.
• Strengthening the monitoring, support supervision and inspection functions in the different institutions with a mandate over teacher management.
• Development and implementation of a clear framework for assessing teachers and other players in the education sector.
The National Teacher Policy will put in place the Minimum standards and qualifications for teacher training. This policy action will focus on the caliber of students enrolled in teacher training Institutions and their subsequent deployment in both private and public schools. This will be achieved through the following strategies:
• Pre-entry assessment of prospective teachers will be undertaken by Teacher Training Institutions in liaison with the education service commission, education, and the Directorate of education standards.
• Harmonization of the curricula and the minimum training duration and pedagogical requirements for teacher training.
• Every Teacher Training institution will have a Demonstration school for practicum teaching.
• Designing, implementing programmes for the up-skilling of teachers and tutors to a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree qualifications.
• Establishing the National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE) to strengthen the quality of Teacher education.
• Development and implementation of an Induction and Probation Framework for teachers and school or institutional leaders.
• Development and implementation of a continuous professional development Framework for teachers’ in-service.
• Development and implementation of a Framework for Adult Learning teachers.
• Re-establishing the Institute of Special Needs focusing on research and demonstration of best practices to teachers.
• This will lead to harmonized and improved teacher training that is both responsive to the labour market demands but also highly professional to deliver quality education.
The National Teacher Policy will put in place the Minimum standards and qualifications for teacher managers. Effective teacher management will be achieved through the following strategies:
• Harmonization and standardisation of the nomenclature used in teacher training and education.
• Strengthening Teacher Management and Development information at local and national levels of the education system.
• Strengthening teacher recruitment in both private and government institutions by developing and implementing harmonized teacher recruitment guidelines.
• Strengthening of school leadership and governance in order to increase teacher productivity and enhance school improvements.
• Reviewing and implementing the Teachers’ Scheme of Service.
• Development and implementation of a Teachers’ Motivation Framework
• Strengthening the implementation of the teachers’ code of conduct and other regulations governing the teaching profession.
It will also in place measures to support the integration of cross-cutting issues that impact on the education sector including ICT, gender, HIV/AIDS, Special Needs Education concerns, environment, and human rights. This will be achieved through the following strategies:
• Mainstreaming ICT, gender, HIV/AIDS, Special Needs Education concerns, environment, and human rights into teacher development, teacher management, and teaching practices.
• Developing effective ICT systems to handle teacher records, information, and data as a way of streamlining and promoting efficiency in teacher planning and management.
• Incorporating ICT, gender, HIV/AIDS, Special Needs Education concerns, environment and human rights into teacher development, deployment and teacher management practices.
• Undertaking pre-service and in-service CPD training for teachers on gender responsiveness, use of ICT, HIV/AIDS into teacher development and management practices.
• These strategies will lead to the achievement of gender parity in teacher education and to promote gender responsive pedagogy, working environment and management of teacher affairs and improved access to information for teachers resulting not only in better learning outcomes but also lifelong learner habits.
Who will follow up on its implementation?
• The key participants will include
• Education Service Commission and District Service Commissions
• National Curriculum Development Centre
• Directorate of Education Standards
• Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions
• Education Development Partners
• Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development
• Ministry of Public Service
• Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
• Governing Councils, School Management Committees and Boards of Governors; Headteachers and Principals
• District education authorities
• National Teachers Council
• Private Sector
• Examination bodies and other stakeholders.
But the most striking two units to be created, are the National Teachers Council and the National Institute of Teacher Education.
The new National Teachers Council, the first of its kind in the country, will;
• Act as an agent authorized to accredit Teacher Education.
• Manage the professional development of teachers.
• Collaborate with school managers and Teachers Unions to improve teachers’ work environment.
• Evaluate the performance of educational institutions to identify those deserving recognition.
• Coordinate the process of evaluating teachers’ performance.
• Present exemplary teachers by subject, department, school, Sub-County, County, District, and region and at the national level for recognition.
• Take disciplinary action on all teachers in both public and private institutions in corroboration with the Education Service Commission (ESC) and District Service Commissions (DSCs).
• Advise Government on matters related to the Teacher Policy.
National Institute of Teacher Education
There will be a National Institute of Teacher Education, which will work with the National Teachers Council to implement the Continuous Professional Development framework for all teachers.