25 January 2013

Uganda: Govt to Recruit 10,000 Teachers

Government is in preparations to recruit 10,000 primary school teachers to tackle the problem of low staff in primary school.

Assistant commissioner for primary education Tony Mukasa-Lusambu said that starting this February they would embark on a massive recruitment of teachers in all districts to satisfy the current demand.

"There are many teachers who have died, others who have retired, and others who have left the teaching service," said Mukasa-Lusambu.

"Also, the education ministry keeps on taking on more and more community-based schools but most of them don't have enough teachers. So we need to address these challenges."

Mukasa-Lusambu reveled this during the district education officers and other education stakeholders' workshop at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The workshop was organized by World Vision-Uganda to brainstorm on how best they can improve the quality of education in the lower education levels.

He said that every Primary Seven school must have a minimum of seven teachers, the head teacher inclusive, with the official pupil-teacher ratio being 53 pupils to one teacher.

But the situation on the ground is far from what is required.

Currently, some teachers single-handedly handle classes of more than 80 pupils, something that is crippling the education standards in schools.

The recently released Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) results show that urban schools performed better than rural schools. Some of the reasons education experts pointed out for this disparity in performance are lack of enough teachers and absenteeism both for teachers and pupils.

Mukasa-Lusambu urged the district education officers to ensure that the pupil-teacher ratio is adhered to. And that if a school does not stick to this, the head teacher complies a report and sends it to the education ministry.

The report has to be delivered before the exercise [recruiting of teachers] starts, as those who will not have submitted in their reports won't be considered.

Only Grade Three teachers will be considered for the jobs.

They will apply to the district service commission, not to the education ministry. The commission will shortlist the teachers and call them for interviews. Those who will have merited will be deployed to the respective schools by the respective district chief administrative officers.

Mukasa-Lusambu revealed that the district service commission will keep a reservoir of teachers, above the numbers of those recruited on standby in case someone just employed dies or chooses to leave or anything else.

World Vision Uganda national director, Gilbert Kamanga observed that improved access to quality education was necessary both for the pupils and for life sustainability.

"Quality education reduces physical and social cultural barriers to children enrollment, attendances and completion of primary education."

He said that their 2013-2015 strategy calls for continued intervention in critical sectors, especially health and education.

"There will be a scale-up in food security, commitment to child protection, community resilience programs to address the impact of changing economic and environmental landscape."

World Vision-Uganda looks to contribute to improved and sustainable wellbeing of about 1.2 million vulnerable girls and boys in Uganda by 2015.

"We shall focus a lot on child welfare, their health, and nutrition."

Also, he said, they will look at ways of increasing household incomes and increasing the ability of most at-risk families to manage natural resources and mitigate disasters.

He pointed out that educating children alone without feeding them wasn't enough; and that this was one of the reasons some pupils from poor backgrounds do not do well in primary school because they "usually are in class on an empty stomach".

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