Ntoroko — Many government-aided schools in Ntoroko District are facing acute shortage of teachers, a challenge that is affecting learners' performance, authorities have revealed.
The Ntoroko senior education officer, Ms Moreen Kusemererwa, on Monday observed that due to the shortage in staffing, many schools have in the last three years failed to complete the syllabus.
Ms Kusemererwa said the problem is exacerbated by the district's failure to replace teachers that have passed on, those that retired and some that abandoned the profession in search of greener pastures.
Statistics from the district education department indicate that the district has a staff ceiling of 108 secondary school teachers but only 52 are available leaving a deficit of 58.
For primary schools, the staff ceiling is 335 but 300 are available, leaving a deficit of 35 teachers.
The senior education officer blames the failure to recruit teachers on the shoestring budget from the central government.
"The teacher-pupil ratio is beyond the government policy of one teacher to 53 pupils and this is affecting students' performance in class," Ms Kusemererwa told Daily Monitor in an interview on Monday.
Last year, Mr Simon Bimbona, the Ntoroko chief administrative officer, wrote to the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education and Sports, about the teacher gap in the district. Mr Bimbona indicated that the district required Shs64m and Shs214m to recruit primary school and for secondary school teachers, respectively.
The district chairperson, Mr Timothy Kyamanywa, said for the last three years, they have been able to recruit only 29 teachers who have not received salary since their appointment.
"As a district administration, we have written several letters to Ministry of Education and they are telling us that there is no money for recruitment. We have a functional district service commission which cannot recruit any civil servant because there is no wage bill," Mr Kyamanywa said.
The director of education standards at Ministry of Education, Dr Kedres Turyagyenda,expressed his displeasure at some districts that return wage bills to the treasury after failure by the district service commission to recruit civil servants.
The deputy head teacher of Karugutu Secondary School, Mr Isaac Kandole, said they have only five teachers, including the head teacher who are enroled on the payroll. He said the rest are working on part time basis and the school has to look for extra resources to meet their pay. "We want government to send us more teachers who are on payroll to improve on teaching," Kandole said