President Museveni has directed the Ministry of Education and Sports to devise a new scheme for promoting classroom teachers across the country as a way of motivating them.
The President said this will make the teaching profession more attractive.
The directive was in response to concerns raised by the teachers, who castigated the government over failure to promote them despite their enhanced education and accumulated experience.
President Museveni, who was presiding over the National Teachers’ Day celebration at Kololo Airstrip yesterday, tasked the Education ministry to create a well-defined service scheme outlining the promotion process for teachers.
“Grades should be introduced into the teaching system. I remember advising the government to adopt this system in 2011. I do not understand why it was not being implemented. What happened?” President Museveni asked.
Currently, there is no transparent method for promoting classroom teachers within the Education ministry. For instance, a teacher who enters the service after completing their education has limited chances of being promoted despite them upgrading, unless appointed as a head teacher or deputy head teacher.
Mr Museveni deemed this system unfair.
To illustrate his point, Mr Museveni referred to the Foreign Affairs ministry, where employees are expected to progress from Grade Six to Grade One regardless of their posting.
He urged the Ministry of Education to formulate mechanisms through which a classroom teacher could be promoted while still teaching. He said this could be achieved through promotional exams, consideration of accumulated experience, or attainment of higher academic qualifications.
Once a teacher is promoted from a junior to a senior or principal position, his or her salary is expected to increase.
“The Foreign Affairs system is an effective one. Their employees ascend from Grade Six to Grade One, ultimately becoming ambassadors. I want you to study this and we can implement it. We should have graded classroom teachers,” Mr Museveni said.
Mr Denis Mugimba, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, said the ministry is actively addressing this issue and once completed, they will unveil the promotion scheme.
Earlier, Mr Vincent Elong, the national chairperson of the Uganda Science Professional Teachers’ Union, while representing all teachers’ unions, highlighted that the Ministry of Education possesses a comprehensive policy document that outlines the promotion ladder for teachers, additional qualifications, or senior experiences.
However, he said this document has remained unimplemented for a long time.
He also pointed out that many school heads remain in acting capacities despite having acquired the necessary qualifications.
Furthermore, teachers who have pursued higher qualifications have not been automatically promoted to higher ranks.
Mr Elong appealed to the government, through its visionary leadership, to direct the relevant service commissions to address this issue promptly.
“Teachers who have gone back to schools to acquire higher qualifications have never been considered for automatic promotions in the new ranks. As teachers, we appeal to you through your visionary leadership to direct the respective service commissions to handle this matter expeditiously,” Mr Elong said.
The teachers also presented several demands, which they believe the government should fulfil, given their crucial role in the country’s development.
These demands included improvements in working conditions such as adequate classroom resources, staff housing, safe environments, and manageable workloads, all of which are essential for the well-being of both educators and learners.