George William Kaate, the Principal of Rakai PTC blames this development on lack of career guidance, counseling and support for the students. He says that although students make choices for PTC's, they are often convinced to change their options, when they perform better at the end of the year.This leaves many classrooms in some PTCs almost empty.
Nearly half of the students who are placed in Primary Teachers’ Colleges-PTC during the national senior five selection exercise do not show up to fill the positions.
The exercise begun today in Kampala. However, according to the teachers, the exercise is becoming redundant because many of the students placed there are never seen at the institutions. PTC Principals also noted that they have observed this trend for the last three years.
They say that the situation has now reached an alarming state, requiring urgent interventions.
George William Kaate, the Principal of Rakai PTC blames this development on lack of career guidance, counseling and support for the students. He says that although students make choices for PTC's, they are often convinced to change their options, when they perform better at the end of the year. This leaves many classrooms in some PTCs almost empty.
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According to the Ministry of Education guidelines, every PTC is supposed to have a maximum of 400 students, 200 in each year of learning. However, in some cases, the poor mindset of learners plays a big role in where students end up at the end of the day.
Christine Chandiru, the principal of Kitgum Core PTC says that teaching has lost the allure it once had as many look at it as a last option. Chandiru says that the ministry has placed only 43 students in her college, yet still, she expects less than 20 to show up.
"So many times, we end up having to coarse students to come and join this noble profession because we have empty classrooms. People are no longer interested." Chandiru explains.
The deputy principal in charge of pre-service teachers at Ndegeya Core PTC, Abdul Doka says they are forced to rely on students who were not placed during selection to meet numbers.
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Doka however adds that often, students who shun PTCs end up bouncing back after they either fail to raise funds in secondary schools or when they are disappointed by the points they get when they sit for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education-UACE.
Despite the low number of students placed in PTCs and the half-empty classrooms, a huge number of students who place their first choices at these institutions fail to meet the minimum academic requirements and are as such not placed.
A mini survey carried out by URN reporters during this year's selection revealed that 1,674 students from six PTCs were not placed. In 2017, the Ministry of Education increased the minimum requirement of students entering PTCs with the view of improving the quality of teachers found in schools.
According to the requirements, students applying to PTCs must have a minimum of a credit in English and Mathematics and two principal passes obtained from either Physics and Chemistry or Biology and Agriculture. Previously, all one required was a pass in English and Mathematics. Which had opened opportunities to candidates who had scored as low as P8 and F9 in other subjects.
There are 57 PTCs in Uganda of which 45 are owned and funded by the government and 12 are private. 23 of the government colleges are core institutions that run both pre- and in-service programs and 22 are non-core institutions that have only pre-service programmes.
According to the new teacher policy, Grade III is to be phased out as the ministry wishes that all teachers should be degree holders.