Crowded schools to get more teachers

Monday November 4 2019


A number of schools have been forced to teach in shifts in order to accommodate high student population. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya 

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Government plans to hire assistant teachers to ease pressure in crowded public schools.

The strategy is part of a wider scheme to address the high pupil to teacher ratio blamed for poor learning in schools.

A number of schools have been forced to teach in shifts in order to accommodate high student population.

Minister of Education Eugene Mutimura said that the plan is to have at least three teaching staff -- a master teacher, senior and junior teachers -- in Primary One to Primary Three classes which tend to have the highest number of pupils.

He said that the government would also recruit additional teaching staff for other classes with more than 70 students.

While Mr Mutimura did not give details of how many additional teachers are needed and how the government would meet the cost of these reforms, he said that the plan would soon be implemented as government progressively expands classroom infrastructure over the next five years.


“We have a budget to cover the costs and it’s something we have deliberated and agreed on with other government agencies.

We expect the plan to help us improve on the proportion of teachers vis-à-vis the student numbers in targeted schools,” he said.

Statistics released last year by the Ministry of Education show that overall, there are more than 64,215 teaching staff in public and state-aided schools and a total of 2,976,723 students.

Of these, more than 2,400,377 are primary school pupils with 39,654 teachers. This puts the teacher to student ratio at 1:60. However, with the high enrollment rate at 139 per cent, coupled with the unavailability of preschool services, the ministry, and its partners say that there are instances where class sizes exceed 70 pupils, and in extreme cases, they exceed 100.

A World Bank assessment conducted in June found that more than 220 over-crowded schools are located in the Eastern, Western and Southern provinces, with teachers opting for double shifts in order to handle the student population.

“Even so, class sizes in primary schools often exceed 65 students; in extreme cases, they exceed 100 students,” World Bank notes.

It estimates that the government will need to build 22,000 additional classrooms in the next five years in order to cut the pupil to classroom ratio from the estimated 91.3 currently to 65, and scrap double shifting.

The World Bank will finance the construction of half of this infrastructure to the tune of $200 million, with the government expected to foot the rest of the bill.