The Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE) has achieved formal clearance from the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) for its academic programs. This achievement represents a pivotal step in UNITE’s preparations to welcome its first cohort of students, with the courses expected to commence next year.
Dr. Betty Ezati, the Chairperson of UNITE’s establishment taskforce, has confirmed this progress, highlighting its importance as the institution advances toward its goal of enhancing teacher education in the country. “It’s a major milestone. We have received clearance, and soon the Ministry of Education will communicate the developments,” said Ezati during an interview with URN reporter.
UNITE has proposed nine programs tailored to meet the educational needs of teachers at different levels, spanning from nursery to primary and secondary education. Among these proposed programs, seven have successfully obtained essential approval from the National Council of Higher Education. This accomplishment reflects the dedication and planning undertaken by UNITE to raise the quality of teacher education in Uganda.
As part of a broader initiative to elevate the standards of teaching and teacher education in Uganda, the Ministry of Education introduced the 2019 National Teacher Policy. According to this policy, teachers at the pre-primary level should possess a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree. To implement this goal effectively, the policy recommended the establishment of UNITE to formalize the role that had been informally performed by Kyambogo University, which inherited it from the Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo-ITEK.
In 2020, the Ministry of Education initiated a task force with the specific purpose of assisting in the creation of UNITE, including the development of programs and the structural framework for the prospective teachers’ university. However, this process faced delays beyond the initially communicated timelines, primarily due to the need for approvals from the NCHE and interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Denis Mugimba, the Ministry of Education Spokesperson, has confirmed that UNITE will be operational and prepared to admit students in July next year, coinciding with the start of the new financial year. Upon its establishment, UNITE will become a prominent public degree-awarding institution specializing in offering degree and postgraduate programs for teachers, teacher trainers, and related fields like pedagogy, education management, and research.
UNITE’s main campus will be situated at Shimoni Core Primary Teacher’s College (PTC), with additional campuses located at five National Teacher Colleges across Mubende, Kaliro, Arua, Gulu, and Kabale. Furthermore, UNITE is set to take responsibility for the 23 primary teacher colleges unaffected by the government’s phase-out initiatives. Work is already underway at Shimoni to create office space and teaching facilities for the institution, marking the tangible progress in this educational transformation initiative.