Hon. John Muyingo, state minister for Higher Education, while opening the first East African Teacher Education Symposium (EATES 2021) at Makerere University on November 10, 2021, stated that The bachelor’s degree in Education will take four years starting with 2022.
Muyingo told the two-day symposium running under the theme: ‘Challenges and opportunities in teacher education that this was one of the 12 policy implementation standards of the National Teacher Policy launched in 2019.
Previously, universities offered the course for three years. Asked what will happen to universities that had already admitted students under the old arrangement, Muyingo said the ministry is discussing how to handle the matter.
Further asked how beneficiaries of the students’ loan scheme will handle the cost of the shift to four years, he said the additional cost is a matter of the sponsor, in this case, the Higher Education Students Financing Board (HESFB).
The minister also mentioned 10 of the 12 key policy shifts brought about by the National Teacher Policy 2019.
1. The minimum entry qualification to teacher training is Senior Six or its equivalent. The implication is that there will be no more admission of S.4 leavers to teacher training courses. Implementation starts in 2021.
2. Pre-entry assessment of prospective teachers will be undertaken by Teacher Training Institutions to assess their attitudes and commitment to teacher training and to the profession.
3. Minimum qualification for teaching at all levels of education (pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary) is a bachelor’s degree in Education. This means that all current teachers and teacher educators need to upgrade within a period of 10 years of transition provided for in the policy, and also all curricula have to be upgraded.
4. All teachers will be adequately equipped with 21st-century skills. Teacher training curriculum and delivery are enriched to equip trainees with 21st-century skills such as effective communication, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, risk-taking, and digital literacy skills, among others. Teachers are to embrace new pedagogies and transform pedagogical practices aimed at achieving better learning outcomes; and they will become lifelong learners, facilitators of learning, designers of the learning environment, and mentors.
5. The bachelor’s degree shall last four years. Trainees will spend three years at the teacher training colleges, and the 4th year shall be dedicated to the internship.
6. All teachers who meet the requirements of the profession will be enrolled on the Roll of Teachers to Practice by the National Teacher Council. The current practice of registering teachers by a department in the ministry will stop as soon as the Council is established.
7. Continuous professional development is to become compulsory to enable all teachers to keep up-to-date. Teachers will be re-registered every two years based on the relevant continuous professional developments undertaken.
8. All heads of education institutions shall undertake compulsory training in educational leadership and management.
9. The policy provides for specialization in three career pathways, namely: teaching, management, and specialist (curriculum, inspection, etc.) after the basic training as a graduate teacher.
10. Teacher remuneration and incentives will be progressively addressed to ensure teachers are motivated, their professional image boosted, their working environment improved, and they have clear career prospects.