Govt rescues NTC students, clears arrears with Kyambogo

Kampala, (UG): The Ministry of Education and Sports has intervened to alleviate the financial burden faced by five National Teacher Colleges (NTCs), resulting in relief for students eager to obtain their academic documents.

Professor Eli Katunguka, the Vice-Chancellor of Kyambogo University said that the five NTCs in question, namely Mubende, Muni, Kabale, Unyama, and Kaliro, collectively owed Kyambogo University a total of 2.66 billion shillings.

Before this intervention, Kyambogo University had adopted a policy of withholding academic documents from students until their respective colleges settled their outstanding balances. The reason behind this action was the colleges’ failure to remit examination and registration fees to Kyambogo University, as they had diverted these funds to other areas, leading to arrears.

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For years, these institutions had a close affiliation with Kyambogo University as part of its role in teacher education. This affiliation was inherited from the now-defunct Institute for Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK).

However, recent changes in teacher education led to the establishment of the Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education (UNITE), which is set to take over the former diploma-awarding colleges as its campuses for degree programs.

Professor Katunguka explained that the transfer of colleges to another institution necessitated settling these financial liabilities, justifying Kyambogo University’s actions.

He added that although the matter had dragged on, there have been discussions between representatives from 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 marks a pivotal moment for NTC students, granting them access to their academic documents without further hindrance. The ongoing issues between Kyambogo University and the NTCs have significantly affected hundreds of students who graduated from these colleges since 2019.

For instance, in previous interviews with URN, former students David Okiring and Juliet Akello highlighted how the lack of essential academic documents prevented them from securing government teaching positions in Seed Secondary Schools and other job opportunities.

Similarly, William Opiyo, who serves in the Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) in Mubende, noted that he faced difficulties in providing the necessary academic records for promotion.

Additionally, many other students also indicated that they were struggling to meet the new minimum qualification requirement for teachers, which now mandates a degree, hindering their pursuit of further education and qualification upgrades due to the lack of essential academic documents.

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In addition to clearing the outstanding debt, Professor Katunguka announced that the government has allocated 3 billion shillings in a supplementary budget to Kyambogo University for the reinstatement of gratuity payments. This financial support comes as a welcome relief for the retired staff members who have been facing financial hardships.

The allocated funds are expected to provide much-needed assistance to retired staff members, easing their financial burdens and ensuring a more comfortable retirement.

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