Sembabule, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Sembabule district is struggling to attract and retain secondary school teachers which is affecting education service delivery in the area.
According to the district education sector performance report, all the nine government secondary schools in the area are struggling with an acute shortage of teachers yet they have a high student population to cater for.
Muhammad Kiggwe, the Sembabule District Education Officer indicates that the district is badly affected by the chronic habit of secondary teachers seeking transfers of services as soon they access the government payroll.
He says that most of the teachers posted to the district seek transfers from the area, a few months after they are deployed, citing poor social amenities like clean water, improved healthcare, and transport among others.
He explains that apparently, none of the nine schools has even half the number of their approved staff ceiling, which impedes the students academic performance.
Kiggwe prefers that government decentralizes the mandate of recruiting teachers to districts, as a practical solution to the recurrent problem of staff turnover.
Apparently, the appointing, confirmation, and transfers of staff in government secondary schools is conducted by the Ministry of Education and Sports.
But this according to Kiggwe, this leads to the deployment of many teachers in areas they are not used to and eventually fail to adapt to the conditions of the area, hence choosing to leave, to the detriment of education service delivery.
He explains that apparently, the available teachers are overstretched because they are required by circumstances to conduct lessons they are not trained for.
Patrick Nkalubo, the Sembabule district chairperson says it is high time the district is allowed to have direct controls over the secondary schools’ teacher recruitment processes, so that they can identify natives who are willing to serve in their home areas.
He says that they have now enlisted the services of the area Members of Parliament to support the quest of decentralizing secondary staff recruitment processes, at least in districts with unique challenges.
As a short-term remedy, Nkalubo says they are formally going to write to the Ministry of Education and Sports to quickly fill in the available staffing gaps before the beginning to the second term, to ensure smooth operation of schools.
Meanwhile, Shartsi Nayebare Musherure, the Member of Parliament for Mawogola North county and chairperson of MPs from Sembabule district says the challenge is novel to them, however adding that they are going to engage the district leadership and agree on how to present it to the relevant authorities for action.