Education partners in Uganda have united to consolidate the gains made to improve quality education in Northern Uganda through the Quality Educators for All (Quality-Ed) project. This commitment was made at a Quality-Ed workshop held in Kampala, from 18-21 February.
The purpose of the workshop was to evaluate the pilot phase of the project and to discuss its future. Since its official launch in 2010, the project has developed a teacher competence profile for primary school teachers, a life-skills curriculum, a handbook on gender responsive pedagogy, and mother tongue education materials. These materials have been adopted as official government materials and distributed to all primary schools in Uganda.
In addition, the project undertook professional development for teachers, where the proficiencies of 720 teachers in the use of mother tongue education, gender responsive pedagogy and the integration of life skills in classroom instruction were enhanced. The project also helped improve the leadership abilities of 240 head teachers and 240 deputies.
Video technology was used to facilitate this professional development through the recording and peer reviewing of teaching practice. Teacher training colleges have also played a significant role in providing the necessary pedagogical support to teachers in the project schools.
The next phase will consolidate the achievements made by focusing on improving the capacity and professional competences of primary school teachers, research, and advocacy to enhance education policy, practice, and teachers working conditions.
Support at grassroots level
Speaking at the workshop, Dennis Sinyolo, EI Senior Coordinator and Quality-Ed Project Co-Leader, encouraged the project partners to continue to support teachers in the classroom. “We need to shift the main focus of the project from national and district level activities to the school. The school should be the epicentre of efforts to improve quality education for every Ugandan child,” he said.
Teachers must be empowered, supported, respected and trusted as professionals to deliver quality education, he stressed. Sinyolo also outlined EI’s Unite for Quality Education campaign, which has quality teachers and teaching as one of its main pillars.
In her remarks, Margaret Rwabushaija, National Chairperson of EI’s affiliate, the Uganda National Union of Teachers (UNATU), thanked EI and Oxfam Novib for supporting the Quality Ed project in Uganda. She said UNATU has embarked on a nationwide campaign to improve the quality of education in Uganda. The campaign seeks to address critical issues, including high dropout rates, child labour, and failure by parents to provide basic scholastic needs. “UNATU will continue to advocate for quality education and for the improvement of salaries and conditions of service for all teachers in Uganda,” she concluded.
Wilber Wanyama, Principal Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, welcomed the development of a teacher competence profile and said the Ministry was considering replicating the project in the entire country.
“A competence profile for secondary school teachers and tutors will be developed using the one developed through the Quality Educators for All project as a reference document and mainstreamed into the teacher appraisal system,” he said.