Cabinet has directed the minister for Education, Science, Technology and Sports Maj. Jessica Alupo to find resources and quickly set up over 200 secondary schools in all sub-counties that are missing a government aided secondary school.
There are 274 sub-counties that currently do not have a government and government aided secondary school according to the ministry.
In an exclusively interview with Red Pepper, the minister said that initially, there were 500 sub-counties without such schools yet the president in his 2011 manifesto pledged to set up a secondary school in every sub-county.
“The progress today is that today, there are only 274 sub-counties that do not have a government and government aided secondary school. Cabinet has recommended that my ministry finds the resources to fund this school construction gap” she said.
TEACHERS’ SACCO SAGA
The minister also explained the controversy surrounding the teachers’ SACCO funds.
She insisted that whereas teachers have always claimed that this shs6bn was a thank you [grant] by the president, the money is actually a revolving fund.
She advised teachers who want to benefit from it to forms associations inform of SACCOs and register them so that they can access these funds.
“My ministry received funds from finance ministry towards the support of teachers’ welfare as a presidential pledge. This fund is not a grant but a revolving fund that is supposed to be managed to benefit all eligible teachers in this country” she said, adding that a teacher must belong to an association as a member of a registered teacher’s SACCO in Uganda.
“The funds are available to all Ugandan teachers today. The mechanisms to access these resources are already in place. The SACCO s formed in schools have this information at their disposal and the ministry is committed to ensuring that no Ugandan is left behind” she said.
GAPS IN TEACHING STAFF
Alupo also noted that despite efforts by the ministry to deploy school teachers in all government and government aided schools, there is still a challenge in filling vacancies in schools.
As a result, the ministry recently came up with a policy to transfer teachers and head teachers from one place to another in an effort to give them exposure and also address the staffing needs.
“Deployment of secondary school teachers has been based on school specific staffing needs, workload, individual teacher requests, and period of stay in school and stakeholder concerns. This is the reason we recently undertook teacher and head teacher transfers” she said adding that the ministry will strive to maintain equitable distribution of its teachers across all locations to ensure efficient functioning of schools and optimize job satisfaction.
The minister however, explained that there are other forms of guidelines which the ministry follows in posting head teachers and teachers to new stations.
NURSERY TEACHERS DEFY GOV’T CURRICULUM
Meanwhile, the ministry has warned nursery teachers against defying the laid down guidelines on the Early Childhood Development policy.
The minister said that though the national curriculum development center [NCDC] came up with a learning framework for nursery owners, teachers continue to teach using their own syllabi.
“In most cases, what they teach tends to cover primary one work. This therefore calls for the ministry to streamline the training of nursery teachers and care givers together with popularizing the nursery curriculum” she said.
Alupo noted that child care development used to be a family and community responsibility but today this has shifted to a more formal method of caring for kids.
She attributed this shift in responsibility to social changes, urbanization, globalization, political instability and HIV/AIDS which have led to increased poverty at household level.
She said this has since made family heads to work for longer hours to sustain their children