UCU offers to help primary-secondary teachers upgrade credentials
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2022/07/ucu-offers-to-help-primary-secondary-teachers-upgrade-credentials/
By Israel Kisakye
Uganda Christian University (UCU) has announced a special, affordable offer for teachers who hold certificates and intend to upgrade to the degree level.
Addressing chaplains of institutions in Mukono Diocese during a workshop in June, UCU Vice Chancellor Associate Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi implored teachers, especially those in Church of Uganda-founded schools and holding Grade Three and Grade Five certificates, to take advantage of UCU’s opportunity to continue their teaching jobs with degrees.
“We are preparing a special intake for all teachers, especially those from the Church of Uganda (COU)-founded institutions, starting with the advent intake,” Mushengyezi said. He noted that the institution was considering packaging a more affordable tuition for the teachers, starting in September.
The Grade Three certificate is the lowest qualification for a teacher in primary school in Uganda, while the lowest rank for secondary school teachers is Grade Five. The move by UCU follows a government announcement that it intends to phase out the two teaching qualifications, in preference for holders of the bachelor’s degree in education.
In 2019, Dr. Kedrace Turyagyenda, the Director of Education Standards in Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports, said the policy of phasing out teachers without degrees would be implemented in a gradual manner after discussions with stakeholders to best prepare teachers for the transition, as well as to allow students already enrolled in the certificate-awarding institutions to complete their courses and be supported to upgrade.
At the workshop held in UCU’s Nkoyoyo Hall, Mushengyezi urged the chaplains to ensure that their works show the Christ-centeredness that the church advocates and strengthens the Christian religious education in their schools.
“Make yourselves relevant to the mission of the church,” Mushengyezi told the chaplains. “You are the torch bearers of Christ’s message in the schools, hospitals, and prisons where you work.” The Vice Chancellor told them not to “get tired of spreading the Gospel.”
The workshop was held to equip chaplains with focused training and spiritual support to be able to function in multi-faith contexts. Mushengyezi revealed that the university had approved a special fund to support the work of the mission, evangelism and discipleship.
The Rev. Canon Diana Nkesiga, the Vicar of All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero in Kampala, urged the chaplains to take their profession as a calling.
“This is a profession that must be respected and given full attention,” Nkesiga, who was one of the facilitators at the workshop, said. “Your role is crucial, especially in the schools where you are posted.”
The Rev. Canon. Geoffrey Muwanguzi, the chaplain of Ndejje University, re-echoed Nkesiga’s call, urging the chaplains to “know their roles in the schools, hospitals and prisons where they are posted.”
The Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Mulindwa Kitayimbwa, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (DVCA), noted that one of UCU’s aims is to promote Church-founded schools by admitting more students from such facilities. He challenged the chaplains to master the new education order and evangelism systems that have emerged in the post-Covid era. Most of the courses taught in UCU are now through blended learning – partly physical, partly virtual.
The Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Mulindwa Kitayimbwa, UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, reinforces the value of continued learning.
Robinah Kato, one of the chaplains who attended the training, said she learned new skills about dealing with children and asked for more of such trainings.
Joshua Lujja, another chaplain, said he was looking forward to the programs that the clergy and teachers will benefit with improved skills from through UCU.
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