The Ministry of Education and Sports has stepped in to address the financial difficulties faced by five National Teacher Colleges (NTCs), providing relief to students seeking their academic records.
The Vice-Chancellor of Kyambogo University, Professor Eli Katunguka, confirmed this intervention, revealing that the five NTCs – Mubende, Muni, Kabale, Unyama, and Kaliro – collectively owed Kyambogo University a total of 2.66 billion Ugandan shillings.
Before this government intervention, Kyambogo University had enforced a policy of withholding academic documents from students until their respective colleges settled their outstanding balances. This action was taken due to the colleges’ failure to remit examination and registration fees to Kyambogo University, diverting these funds to other purposes, leading to arrears.
These colleges had a longstanding affiliation with Kyambogo University as part of their role in teacher education, stemming from the Institute for Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK), which no longer exists. Recent changes in teacher education led to the establishment of the Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education (UNITE), which is taking over the former diploma-awarding colleges for degree programs.
Professor Katunguka clarified that the transfer of colleges to another institution necessitated settling these financial liabilities, justifying Kyambogo University’s actions. Following discussions between the Ministry of Education and Kyambogo University, the outstanding debts were validated, and the Ministry committed to clearing them over the next two financial years.
This government intervention is a turning point for NTC students, granting them access to their academic documents without further obstacles. The protracted issues between Kyambogo University and the NTCs have significantly affected hundreds of students who graduated from these colleges since 2019.
For instance, former students David Okiring and Juliet Akello faced difficulties securing teaching positions in Seed Secondary Schools and other job opportunities due to the lack of essential academic documents. William Opiyo, a member of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) in Mubende, also encountered challenges in providing academic records for promotion.
Many other students struggled to meet the new minimum qualification requirement for teachers, now mandating a degree, hindering their pursuit of further education and qualification upgrades due to the lack of essential academic documents.
In addition to clearing the outstanding debt, Professor Katunguka announced that the government has allocated 3 billion Ugandan shillings in a supplementary budget to Kyambogo University for the reinstatement of gratuity payments. This financial support provides welcome relief for retired staff members facing financial hardships, ensuring a more comfortable retirement.