Teacher Organizations Strengthen Skills in Social Dialogue in Education

Participants in group work on social/policy dialogue © UNESCO

For long, teacher organizations in Uganda have been perceived by government as failing education because they often mobilize their members to go on industrial action over issues of conditions of service and low salary. The teachers, through their teacher unions have on several occasions engaged their employers (government and private education providers) on issues that affect them and their work. Despite the several engagements, the teacher concerns have not been comprehensively resolved. Many of their concerns have remained unattended, affecting the ability of the teachers to teach effectively.

UNESCO, under the Norwegian Teacher Initiative (NTI) project and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), organized a 5-day training (19th to 21st April 2021) for teacher unions on effective social and policy dialogue in Education. The purpose of the training was to build the capacity of the teacher union leaders on how to engage in effective dialogue with teacher employers. Mr. Ismail Banduga, the UNESCO Project Officer in-charge of the NTI project in Uganda urged the participants to take advantage of the 5-days to gain as much skills as they can to engage in effective dialogue in their respective jurisdictions.

While delivering his remarks at the opening of the 5-days training workshop, Mr. Jonathan Kamwana, Commissioner Teacher/Tutor Instructor Education and Training (TIET) in the MoES observed that, “the Ministry is always ready to dialogue with the teachers on matters of their welfare and conditions of service in its endeavors to improve the quality of teaching and learning. The problem has been how the teachers package and present their concerns”.

The Ministry is grateful to UNESCO for having organized this kind of training and is hopeful that the teacher organizations will benefit from it.
Mr. Jonathan Kamwana, Commissioner TIET, Ministry of Education and Sports of Uganda

In this training, the participants learnt about the different forms of social and policy dialogue; the conditions necessary for social and policy dialogue; and skills on how to prepare for and engage in an effective dialogue. Mr. Juma Mwamula, a Member of the private teacher’s union was one of the 100 participants in the 3-day training.

I have been wondering why our employers are not listening to us and addressing the issues we raise in regards to our welfare and conditions of work. Now I know part of the problem is the way we package and present our issues. With the skills I have acquired in this training, I feel empowered as a leader to better engage with our employers over our concerns as teachers. I am hopeful the results will be different moving forward.
Mr. Juma Mwamula, a Member of the private teacher’s union