Uganda presents its journey in establishing the National Teacher Council

With its primary mandate of supporting teacher policy development in Africa, UNESCO IICBA under the auspices of the Norwegian Teacher Initiative (NTI) joined hands with the NTI project office in Uganda, AFTRA and the Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) to organize the second virtual workshop to benchmark the establishment and functionality of a National Teacher Council for Uganda.

The main objective of the second workshop was to listen from Uganda on the work that has been done so far, and to discuss the challenges faced and opportunities for further collaboration between different teacher councils across the continent. Moderated by Dr Binyam Sisay Mendisu, Program Officer at UNESCO IICBA, nearly 30 participants from different education partners and stakeholders actively participated in this workshop.

In her welcoming remarks, Dr Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO IICBA, reiterated the importance of the establishment of the National Teachers’ council as it is expected to support and promote the professionalization of teaching in Uganda. As she described the expected outcomes of the workshop, Dr Yumiko appreciated the continued support from the Teaching Service Commission of Kenya and National Teacher Council of Ghana to Uganda.

On behalf of Ms. Ann Therese Ndong Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for East Africa, Mr. Charles Draecabo, Project Officer at the UNESCO Project Office in Kampala delivered an opening address highlighting UNESCO's work in Uganda around the development of National Teachers' policy and stressing the need for Uganda to benchmark with other countries that have well established national teachers' councils.

Drawing on his expertise in teaching councils, Professor Steve Nwokeocha, Executive Director of the African Federation of Educational Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA), shared the history of regulatory authorities in Africa and how it has empowered teachers in Africa over the years. He shared his experience on the process of creating a teaching regulatory authority in Nigeria, the various mandates that a teachers' council needs, and its structure. In closing, Professor Steve echoed how Uganda would benefit from the creation of its teachers' council.

In the next session, Ms. Caroline Kavuma, Coordinator of the UNITE Task Force, MoES, Uganda, presented the steps that have been taken so far in the establishment of the National Council of Teachers of Uganda, the challenges faced, including the delay of the act and the anxiety of teachers. She briefly spoke about how the National Teacher Policy pushed them to create UNITE which is a major enabler of the National Teachers' Council and how UNITE and the national teachers will work closely together. She also underlined the expectations of Uganda in the creation of a National Teachers Council. Following her presentation, Uganda received comments and encouragement from Ms Mary Rotich, Director of Field Services under the TSC Kenya and Professor Steve. And also, the possible solutions to the challenges encountered.

During the Q&A session moderated by Dr. Sonia Guerriero, Senior Education Specialist, UNESCO Headquarters, TED Section, participants gave their opinions, comments, asked questions and shared their concerns on the creation of a National Council of Teachers. The main points raised concerned the anxieties and motivation of teachers, the inclusion of teacher unions, and the documentation of existing teacher councils in African countries.

Mr. Jonathan Kamwana, TIET Commissioner at MoES, Uganda, closed the workshop by thanking the organizers and all participants and recalled the importance of this particular workshop.

UNESCO IICBA is pleased to continue to technically support the Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) as it moves forward.


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