Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Education is seeking for secondary schools to attach students who had opted to join Primary Teachers Colleges-PTC.
Every year, the 46 PTCs have been admitting at least 9,200 students with each college accommodating a maximum of 200 students in a given academic year.
Statistics from the National selection and placement committee indicate that over 8,369 students had placed their first choice as PTCs this year. The figure doesn’t include students who could have placed these institutions as their second choice.
However, early this month, the ministry effected the 2019 National Teacher Policy which suspended admission of students in teacher training institutions after the Uganda Certificate of Education-UCE.
Benson Kule Babitazare, the chairperson of the National selection and placement committee says that due to the changes in teacher education, students who had placed their first choice in PTCs have been moved to the list of non-selected learners.
Babitazare says that the committee is currently encouraging secondary schools to absorb the said group of learners during the ongoing senior five selections and placement exercise.
According to the guidelines, if schools fail to absorb these learners voluntarily, the burden will then be upon the committee to find the placements. Babitazare notes that in such circumstances, their last option will be placing them depending on regions where they have been studying in their previous level of education.
A section of headteachers note that moving PTC applicants into secondary schools might be troublesome since the majority of the affected students could have opted for the PTCs with a personal reason in mind.
Ian Kulubya, the headteacher Lunyo Hill SS in Busia district, argues that most of the affected students had looked at alternative education pathways and for someone to dictate that they join A-Level without consulting them is not a good idea.
“Placing these students in secondary schools might affect many of them. Who has consulted them to know whether they are interested in A-level education? There is a big chance that these students might not show up even after being placed in several schools,” said Kulubya.
Kulubya further blamed the ministry for not planning since they could have told the students earlier enough so that they weigh what option to take.
“The National Teachers Policy was passed way back in 2019, even before COVID-19. They knew that learners were not going to be enrolled in PTC but they gave them false hope when they left PTCs on form X. Perhaps these students could have chosen to join BTVET institutions, who knows?” Kulubya noted.
However, Preventus Kanyesigye, headteacher of Kagongo SS in Ibanda district is optimistic that these learners can be admitted by secondary schools. He however highlights that there must be deliberate attempts by schools who are willing to admit this category of learners to talk to the affected students and their parents.