By Metedio Iceta
Moyo, West Nile: A section of leaders in Moyo district have rejected the plan by government to phase out Erepi Primary Teachers’ College PTC.
Erepi is among the among the 23 PTCs, which are on the verge of being closed indefinitely as the government officially phases out Grade III and Grade V teaching qualifications in favor of a bachelor’s degree in Education.
There are 46 PTCs in Uganda, 23 of which are core institutions that run both pre-and in-service programs. The remaining 23 are non-core institutions that only offer pre-service programs. Teachers with Grade III and Grade V qualifications have up to August 2028 to upgrade and become graduate teachers to fit into the new arrangement.
The new changes are part of the government’s move to streamline, professionalize, and improve the quality of teacher education hatched in the 2019 National Teacher Policy. The policy requires that all teachers from pre-primary should have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree.
During a recent engagement with education ministry officials at the institution recently, leaders in the district expressed mixed reactions, with a number of them worried of the destiny of the tutors and the students of the college.
This was meeting, chaired by the BOG chairperson of the college Tabe Allah Noel, who expressed his disappointment over the phase out plan of the institution.
“This to me is a moment of bereavement to the people of Moyo and Madi sub region. People here have cherished this institution and for long we have related it to the love that the Bachwezi people had for their cattle in history. We will forever stand firm till it is graduated into a core PTC and nothing else. I personally denounce this move and instead I want to urge the government to revisit the policy looking at the dangers this move will have on the education impact of the region”, he said.
From what the officials communicated, the college will be closed in December this year which propelled Martin Izaruku, the council representative to the BOG to ask whether that meant that all the trainees were going to graduate as there are possibilities of others getting retakes at the end of the year.
The leaders are also questioning the criteria the government has used in selecting the colleges that will be upgraded in to a core PTC sighting that Moyo district being a hard to reach area with the population living in bondage of poverty, at least the college should have been among those upheld because majority of the people have remained uneducated because they cannot afford to travel long distances to access better education.
Bada Emmanuel, the secretary for works and transport Moyo district local government said that it is just a trick of laying off the tutors and that they will not be deployed to the other colleges because there are staff already working in those places.
“This is just ways of undermining people of Uganda . You can’t come from the blue to close institutions just because you want standards to favour your people and we can not give listening hears to such anymore”. ,Bada said.
Jamal Abdunasa, the BOG chairperson of finance committee Erepi PTC says the government should have come up with alternatives for the people before planning to phase out the institution.
“This phase out should be based on the demands of the community other than just phasing it out without replacement.There is no way people will sit and watch things goes mess up in the names of closing and where do you expected our people to attain teaching profession”
Emmanuel Amoko,the Moyo District Speaker has assured that they will not change their demand as a district.
“We urged that the issue needs to be reviewed by Parliament because it will lead to insecurity if not critically handled. The council had resolved that their demand will not change because this is the only teachers college in the district and when government plans to phase out the institute then they should be ready to be phased out too by the people in region stop undermining us”
The LC5 Chairperson Moyo district Williams Anyama said: “We have not received any official document concerning the phase out of Erepi PTC. We have only been hearing rumors about this exercise, but I personally want to say that the alignment in regards to the NRM manifesto will not work”.
In his response to the concern of the phase out resulting to unemployment, Max okiair, the assistant commissioner teacher educators in the Ministry of Education emphasized that the tutors should prepare for anything that comes on there way.
“When Policies are pass by the Parliament for us we go for implementation. It is them to revisit the Policy that cannot place positive changes in the life of people and we shall present the out come of this meeting to the ministry for further analysis and appropriate responses would be availed”