During our teacher training program this year, where we reach and trained over 1,700 teachers in 26 districts across all the regions in Uganda, we discovered that 37% of all teachers do not like to teach and given any chance they would give up the teaching profession.
89% of the teachers ended up in teaching as a last resort because their parents/guardians could not afford to pay their tuition for further education in a different field. Only 21% of the total number of teachers that we trained this year, dreamed of being teachers while growing up. Their dreams were particularly inspired by one of their teachers in the way they smartly dressed, spoke and conducted themselves within and outside the school campuses. It should be noted that ending up in a different job from the one dreamed of in childhood is not unique to these teachers.
“Teaching is not a very attractive profession, and from childhood, most children grow up knowing that teachers are poor and of a low class, and no one dreams of that,” commented one of the teachers who requested anonymity.
There is, therefore, little wonder as to why, according to a UWEZO report of 2015, out of every ten pupils that begin primary school in Uganda, only three get to sit for their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Among the so many reasons why the seven children drop out of primary school, the poor quality of teachers that are churned out of Primary Teachers Colleges (PTCs) around the country takes precedence.
It is for that reason that we are primarily focusing on helping teachers to do their work well, and indeed we are starting to see some results. Many of the teachers are increasingly growing to love the profession and they are doing all they can to become better teachers – irrespective of whether or not they dreamed of being teachers in the first place. All the teachers we interacted with appreciated that they have a critical assignment in educating our children, despite all the challenges they face from receiving a meager salary to being despised and treated as low class.
Uganda urgently needs fully engaged teachers that are able and willing to give of themselves to lay a firm foundation upon which others will build and shape the future of our country. At enjuba, we pledge to continue supporting our teachers in this regard because of the critical role they play therein. Lastly, it is until teachers fall in love with teaching that their pupils will consequently fall in love with learning.