The government on Thursday announced that at least 3,800 secondary school teachers will be recruited across the country in the Financial Year 2019/2020. Better still, 1,900 of these will be science teachers.
Dr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education, said increasing the number of teachers will improve how sciences are taught in schools.
“Science teachers must now realise that failure to integrate theory and practical teaching will not produce learners that are suitably prepared for university and tertiary level science programmes,” Dr Muyingo said shortly after releasing the 2018 Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examination results on Thursday.
However, his concerns over poor grades in sciences is not new. Every year, majority of learners perform well in Arts subjects and poorly in sciences.
This should be a concern for everyone given that nearly all countries that have developed and even the super powers, got to their level through science and innovation.
Science subjects at A-Level and beyond in the country continue to attract few learners. Many fail sciences at lower levels and it becomes a relief for learners to drop science subjects when they have to make a choice. Science subjects are compulsory at O-Level. Part of the problem is inadequate manpower, practical lessons and equipment in many schools, especially in the rural areas.
About two years ago, a list compiled by the Ministry of Education, revealed that 59,601 teachers are needed to fill the existing vacancies in various government schools and institutions across the country. Therefore, by the planned recruitment of teachers, some of the graduates who are joblessness despite having academic papers, will get a relief.
There have been many excuses not to hire well-trained teachers in the country, including lack of funds. But the quality of education in any country directly impacts on its level of development.
There is no other way out.
If we want economic growth and prosperity, there should be deliberate investment in human capital and that capital should start with teachers’ numbers and quality.
Therefore, the recruitment drive, if implemented as suggested by the minister, will be a step in the right direction.