By Our Reporter
Authorities in the Education and Sports Ministry have advised teachers to shape up or ship out as they move to implement the 2019 National Teacher Policy. The policy sets set a bachelor’s degree in education as the minimum qualification for teachers at all levels of education right from pre-primary to university and other tertiary institutions.
The policy requires all teachers to progressively move towards the acquisition of graduate training with specialization in either pre-primary, primary, lower secondary, or upper secondary. Jonathan Kamwana, the commissioner in charge of teacher education and development, says the move has begun with the phasing out of Grade III and V teacher training at primary teacher’s colleges and national teacher’s colleges respectively.
Kamwana says that it’s now up to the teachers to upgrade and meet the set requirements. “Consequently, the current grade III and V teachers in the system will be supported to acquire graduate training subject to availability of funds,” he noted, adding that: “the ministry will come up with in-service programmes for these teachers that will be offered at the different Core PTCs and NTCs.” Hajji Abdul-Majid Nkuutu Kibedi, the Principal Education Officer in charge of Secondary Teachers’ Education, says that teachers should prepare to meet the required qualification or else risk losing their jobs.
“The new changes have met resistance from some teachers and education experts, saying that acquiring a degree might not solve all the challenges of teacher education in the country. But we all know that people fear change. I advise teachers not to resist but rather use every available opportunity to attain the required qualifications,” Kibedi said.
According to the teacher policy, teachers without degrees have ten years to attain one. Kibedi stresses that after the stipulated time, all those without the minimum qualifications will be ejected from the system. “Government teachers who will have failed to fulfil this requirement might be expelled from the payroll,” he noted. He recalled the events that followed the phasing out of grade II teachers in 1996.
“Those who refused to upgrade from grade II to Grade III were retired. Many who had opposed the idea and refused to upgrade were shown the exit. So this is not something new,” he said. Apart from Grade III and V teachers, the National Teacher Policy also requires all education managers at institutions, local government and national levels to acquire post-graduate training in educational leadership and management within three years.
This means that people occupying the said offices have up to 2024 to meet the requirements. The new changes are part of the government’s move to streamline, professionalize, and improve the quality of teacher education.
Besides quality issues, the ministry has constantly noted that requiring all teachers to have the same qualification, will make it easy to establish the basic payment standard regardless of the class they are teaching.