On Monday, cabinet granted approval for the National Teacher Bill, signalling a significant step towards fostering professionalism within the teaching profession across all educational levels.
Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for Information Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, confirmed that the Ministry of Education presented the bill, and it received unanimous approval with only minor suggestions.
He noted that the Ministry of Education and the Parliamentary Council would collaboratively address these minor concerns before presenting the bill to the parliament.
The potential implications of this bill, if enacted, are substantial and will bring about transformative changes in the realm of teaching. A pivotal feature of the bill is the establishment of the National Teacher Council, a robust authority entrusted with the responsibility of supervising and regulating teacher standards and ethical conduct.
The minister noted a striking disparity in the regulation of professions such as medicine, engineering, and law, all of which possess regulatory bodies to govern their professional practices. In contrast, the teaching profession, which boasts the largest number of professionals and holds paramount importance from early education to universities, has thus far lacked such oversight.
Information from the Ministry of Education shows that the National Teacher Council will shoulder a multifaceted role beyond its regulatory purview. In addition to maintaining teacher standards and ethical conduct, this authoritative body will take on the vital tasks of guiding teacher education, nurturing continuous professional development, and facilitating career progression for educators nationwide.
The council will also undertake the responsibility of registering and licensing teachers while maintaining an all-encompassing registry of educators in both public and private educational institutions. Under this legislation, no individual will be permitted to engage in teaching at any educational level without securing clearance from this regulatory authority.
A comprehensive study on teacher-related issues in Uganda was carried out between 2010 and 2013 by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with its partners. This study culminated in a report, which subsequently provided recommendations for enhancing teacher education and management. These recommendations have been systematically implemented.