UNITE Taskforce regroup to validate its Strategic Plan

The Ministry of Education & Sports, Uganda with support from UNESCO CapED Programme, organized a three-day retreat on Strategic Plan and Curriculum Framework for the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE) from 5 to 7 May 2022.  The retreat brought together the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE) Taskforce to discuss and validate UNITE Strategic Plan and Curriculum Framework for enrichment and ownership ahead of the Institute’s proposed landmark establishment. UNITE will be a degree-awarding institution for Teacher Education in Uganda.

The Education 2030 Framework for Action calls for policy and legislative measures to make the teaching profession more attractive to current and potential teachers. Since 2013, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports, with technical support from the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa under the CapED Programme, started the process of reviewing, consolidating, and updating various teacher-related policies for effective teacher management and delivery of education services to Ugandans.

Mr. Charles Draecabo (Centre) UNESCO National Projects Coordinator, Prof. Proscovia Namubiru Ssentamu of UNITE (left) and Mr. Max Okiror Acting Commissioner Teacher Education and Development Training (right) © UNESCO/Vincent Ogal

UNESCO National Projects Coordinator, Mr. Charles Draecabo while addressing the stakeholders revealed that, the Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education will be a landmark not only for the country but the entire region. “I can say this with confidence because Uganda is one of the countries that have successfully developed and is now implementing the National Teacher Policy upon which UNITE is anchored.”

The Teacher Training Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa (TTISA) Report of 2013 which outlined the challenges of quality and quantity of teachers as one of major issues affecting the education sector in the African continent, including Uganda. It recommended among others, the establishment of Teacher Policy whose main objective will be to provide a framework to professionalize and standardize the teaching profession and enhance the development and management of teachers. UNITE will be a specialized higher education institution in Uganda for Teacher Education and will have the mandate to train and supervise teacher education programmes in other tertiary/higher education institutions in the country.

One of the key tenets of the Teacher Policy is the establishment of UNITE, so we would not like to see UNITE half-run its course, but we would like to see it run its full course and attain the objectives for which it was intended for upon establishment.

Mr. Charles Draecabo, UNESCO Uganda National Project Coordinator

Mr. Draecabo further added that, unlike other agencies, UNESCO is a knowledge organization and consequently values more the strengthening and capacitating of Member States so as to enable them take leadership, ownership and drive their own development agenda.

The Acting Commissioner Teacher Education and Development Training in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Max Okiror commended the UNITE Taskforce and Secretariat for implementing the recommendations of the National Council for Higher Education made during a recent impromptu visit to the Institute. Mr. Okiror in his remarks further advocated for the fast-tracking of UNITE accreditation by the National Council for Higher Education, the only accreditation body in the country mandated to regulate and guide the establishment and management of higher education institutions as well as regulating the quality of higher education, equating qualifications and advising Government on higher education matters.

Mrs. Jolly Uzamukunda Karabaaya, Commissioner University Education and Training (center); Prof. Proscovia Namubiru Ssentamu of the Taskforce Team (left); and James Wasagami Principal Officer, Ministry of Public Service (right). ©UNESCO/Vincent Ogal

The Commissioner for University Education and Training in MoES, Mrs. Jolly Uzamukunda Karabaaya who officially closed the 3-day retreat commended the efforts of all stakeholders channelled towards recognizing the centrality of teachers in Uganda’s development through the establishment of UNITE. Ms. Jolly added that, “these dedicated efforts towards improving the capacities of teachers will make Uganda the hub of human capacity development and we are going to provide a resource to the whole world.”

Mrs. Jolly Uzamukunda tasked stakeholders to work towards introducing an automated Human Resource Systems to galvanize institutional processes with clearly defined parameters, which in turn help to mitigate some of the internal challenges that institutions face daily.

During the various sessions at the retreat, participants adopted a more collaborative and participatory approach where stakeholders collectively participated in identifying strands of instrumental policies that align to UNITE Strategic Plan and cite relevant articles to enrich the supporting literature on Teacher Education policy.  In groups, participants discussed and enriched the SP against identified gaps, timeline, monitoring frameworks and implied costs.

It is anticipated that, once accredited by the National Council for Higher Education, UNITE is expected to be the only specialized higher education degree-awarding institution in Uganda for Teacher Education, with the other existing Teacher Training Institutions continuing to train teachers but in collaboration with UNITE as guided by the country’s National Teacher Policy of 2019.