Butebo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Elders and other stakeholders in Butebo district want the government to elevate Kabwangasi Primary Teacher’s College into a University. Kabwangasi PTC is among the 23 Primary Teachers Colleges lined up for closure as the government phases out grade III teachers.
Established by the colonial government in 1934, Kabwangasi PTC is one of the popular and oldest primary teacher’s colleges in Eastern Uganda. Local leaders in Butebo say phasing out the college will greatly affect the education of their children. They want the government to consider converting the college into a University instead of closing it.
Different stakeholders including elders, opinion and religious leaders and education experts held a crisis meeting over the weekend at Kabwangasi town council headquarters in Butebo district where they asked the government to review its policy of phasing out PTCs.
Sam Nalwanda, a teacher who is acting as the interim chairperson of the elders spearheading the committee fighting for the glory of Kabwangasi PTC, says that the decision to phase out the college came as a shock. He says that the community of Kabwangasi and Butebo district in general, is in a lot of pain about the proposed phasing out of their only higher institution of learning.
He asks the government to find an alternative for the community before phasing out the college, which has been key at improving the education status of the people of Butebo.
Sisye Muntu, an elder also said that the proposed phasing out of the college is an issue of concern to the people of Butebo and the greater Bukedi at large, because it has a wide catchment area, long profile and history.
He says that the college has been helping to accommodate children from poor families to get an education because of its accessibility and affordability.
Philip Okanya, another opinion leader says that Kabwangasi PTC has served people beyond Kabwangasi and Butebo district. He notes that despite the fact that they respect the government decision, the government should have consulted the stakeholders before arriving at its decision.
“We were shocked when we heard that the college is among those being phased out despite its geographical coverage and historical background. We wonder whether the government will have an alternative for this college or not,” he said.
He says that they expected the government to come up with a visible and comprehensive plan for Kabwangasi PTC because all the structures had just been refurbished.
Butebo District Woman Member of Parliament, Agnes Amede and her Butebo County counterpart, Patrick Mutono Lodoi also noted with great concern the impending phasing out of the college.
“We got serious concerns from the community about this matter and as well as leaders. This is a matter that we shall give maximum urgency it deserves because these people and leaders have legitimate concerns,” Amede said.
Dennis Mugimba, the Education and Sports Ministry spokesperson said that Non-Core PTCs that will be phased out are going to be repurposed into secondary schools, skilling centers, or technical institutions depending on the needs of the areas where they are located.
It will be a development.