BY PPU REPORTER
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has urged teachers to utilise their calling and knowledge to transform Uganda socially and economically.
“In your education system, when you say you are a social scientist, you find a peasant producing another peasant and you don't see that as a problem and you continue teaching, what are you teaching? Why don't you see that there's social stagnation here and in some cases social regression? We have been having some scuffles over the issue of the correct approach to knowledge transfer ever since independence because there are some people who looked at education as a means of copying foreign things and trying to be Europeans. Of course, we didn’t agree with those people and we used to have normal scuffles and we struggled against that type of miseducation,” President Museveni said.
The President made these remarks while presiding over the commemoration of World Teachers' Day at Kololo Independence Grounds. The event ran under the theme “The teachers we need for the education we want: the global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage”.
Gen. Museveni explained that the correct approach to knowledge transfer involves three parts which include the basic tools (reading, writing, and counting), the study of society and the study of nature which can improve people's welfare or damage it.
He was however happy to note that educators nowadays are adapting a progressive education system and that they were beginning to discuss impactful topics that would change the face of the system thus leading to the national development of Uganda.
“If you get a proper grasp of this, you will not go wrong and you will link easily with your people where you come from. It is not correct to think that your people don't know what they are doing in the villages, they have got some basic ideas which you should first of all know. If you go on the side of society, you find that the African societies are very strong, that is why we were able to withstand all sorts of problems like bad leaders, slave trade and we were able to survive. Other people did not survive; if you go to the Americans; the indigenous people disappeared because their society was not as strong as ours,” the President revealed.
“Social sciences should also be able to help you understand the good practices that we can copy from other parts of the world for development. You know there's a process in Biology known as metamorphosis, that process happens normally with insects; that is biological metamorphosis but also in social sciences we have been having social metamorphosis and you wonder why all these professors don't get this. Part of the strength of Europe in the last 600 years has been the fact that they underwent social metamorphosis,” he added.
On the issue of housing, the President said the institutional housing option was the better, since the system caters for all teachers who offer their services at the respective school.
President Museveni also pledged to financially support the teachers' SACCO.
“The private school teachers I will need to give them something also,” he added.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni commended the teachers for their invaluable contribution towards Uganda's national development.
She also thanked President Museveni for his unwavering support and guidance to both the teachers and the Education sector.
“Today the nation Uganda joins the global community in acknowledging the pivotal role that teachers play in the lives of our children. This day holds a significant place in our education calendar, dedicated to recognizing the tireless efforts of the teachers in moulding our lives and nurturing our children,” Maama Janet said.
She also advised that Uganda as part of the global community must adapt its education system to produce citizens who are not only relevant but also well prepared for the demands of the society.
“My Ministry established an Education Review Commission to evaluate our education system and define the education we desire. This process considers all the changes that have occurred since the 1992 White Paper on Education which has been a guiding document for our education system. Consultations are currently underway and I encourage all citizens to contribute to this so that collectively we can shape the education we aspire to have in this country. I'm eagerly waiting for the Commission's report which will serve as a guide for the future of our education system,” she stated.
“We are also aware that the cabinet approved the National Teachers Policy in 2019 with a focus on the kind of teachers we need to achieve the desired education outcomes in our homeland. It is imperative that we be deliberate on how we train, how we manage, how we motivate our teachers to deliver quality education. The teaching profession must be properly regulated.”
The National Chairperson of Uganda Professional Science Teachers' Union (UPSTU), Mr. Vincent Elong, who represented all the Teachers' Union leaders in the country, said the day helps them to celebrate the significant efforts of teachers across the country but also to address themselves to the vital issues that immensely affect the future of the country's national education system.
In a special way, on behalf of teachers, Mr. Elong expressed profound gratitude to the government and specifically to His Excellency the President for taking a visionary step to improve their remuneration starting with science teachers.
“This momentous decision has left a profound impact on the science teachers nationwide standing as a testament to government dedication to invest in quality education. We greatly commend you, Your Excellency for this progressive action. The recent directive to enhance salaries of Head Teachers and Deputies of science also signifies the government's unwavering commitment to improve the welfare of all teachers in Uganda,” Mr. Elong noted.
He added that the salary enhancement has since boosted the morale and maintained highly skilled teachers in the teaching profession thus leading to improved teachers' standards which has directly benefited the learners.
“We urge and pray that the government considers the enhancement of salaries for all other categories of civil servants who have not yet benefited.”
Mr. Elong also called upon the government to address the challenges faced by teachers in private schools.
“They can go months without pay despite receiving minimal salaries at the discretion of the school owners,” he asserted.
Mr. Charles Draecabo, UNESCO National Projects Coordinator said if Uganda is to achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, in particular the goal of achieving equitable and quality education, stakeholders need relevant and innovative strategies that prepare learners of today for the transformation needed by the society in a rapidly changing world.
“Teachers are one of the pillars on which this transformation depends. Research has shown that teachers are the most important school level variable to improving students' outcomes.”
At the same function, six (6) outstanding teachers were recognized and awarded with laptops courtesy of UNICEF.
The event was also attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, among others.