The Ministry of Education on Monday moved to deflect criticism over the new policy requiring teachers to have a minimum education level of a Bachelor’s degree, saying it was good for the sector.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education Alex Kakooza today Monday said, “apart from compulsory acquisition of a degree by all teachers, the policy is providing specialization in other areas such as teaching, leadership, procurement among others.”
“We want to have people who are going to specialize in teaching, people who will specialize in leadership and we begin training them in leadership; people who want to specialize in education such as curriculum and assessment, inspection etc,” he added.
All teachers in the country at the levels of Grade III and Grade IV will have a grace period of 10 years to upgrade to university degree level.
A newly launched National Teacher Policy will require all teachers to be University graduates.
The policy according to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education Alex Kakooza also provides for a gradual phasing out of Grade III certificate and Grade IV diploma training courses.
The policy has since been dismissed as discriminatory for poor teachers.
Kalungu West Member of Parliament, Joseph Ssewungu last week criticised the new policy, citing the likelihood of poorly paid teachers being unable to upgrade to university degrees.
“Teachers are meant to be at school. One of the main issues affecting them is poor pay. Now when you tell them to go and acquire Bachelor’s degrees in education, who is going to facilitate them?” Ssewungu wondered.
The MP further said it was contradictory for government to spearhead this measure when not long ago, it complained that primary teachers with Masters Degrees were overqualified.
But Kakooza today said the new policy will also see head teachers skilled in leadership.
“If you have a good Head Teacher, there is no way teachers will come late to school. There is no way you will have teachers not teaching, there is no way you will have teachers not teaching in line with the syllabus,” he added.