Article Versions
Export Article
Cite this article
  • Normal Style
  • MLA Style
  • APA Style
  • Chicago Style
Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Initial Teacher Training in the Wake of Uganda’s National Teacher Policy and Covid-19 Lockdown: A Technical or Ethical Challenge?

Cornelius Ssempala, Peter Mpiso Ssenkusu, John Mary Vianney Mitana
American Journal of Educational Research. 2022, 10(1), 46-53. DOI: 10.12691/education-10-1-5
Received November 22, 2021; Revised December 27, 2021; Accepted January 05, 2022

Abstract

The professionalisation of the Ugandan teaching workforce in general, and initial teacher education (ITE) in particular, are currently the subjects of considerable policy reform. In the first part, this study carries out a comparative analysis, pointing out convergences and divergences in regard to ITE policy adoption in various parts of the globe. The uniqueness of Uganda’s 2019 National Teacher Policy’s directives on ITE is spelled out in the light of a delicate ‘middle position’ between and betwixt the epistemological (ITE as a scientific practice) and phenomenology (ITE as a social practice). The last part of the paper provides a reflective background against which an integral professional education is both a technical and ethical challenge, especially in a country that is emerging from prolonged school closures during Covid-19 lockdowns. The paper recommends that ITE ought to prepare trainee teachers with the competencies needed to teach for the 21st century skills and how to assess these skills.

1. Introduction

Teacher policy, standing at the heart of the education system, is being reformed, remodelled, and transformed in a range of developed and developing countries. In Uganda, it descends upon a country that is still emerging from prolonged school closure during Covid-19 lockdowns. Yet, at the same time, debates about the most appropriate tools for producing and equally distributing ‘quality educational services’ are becoming more vigorous. More so, as in other countries, are debates about a new relationship between the Education Ministry and Teacher Training Colleges; between teacher educators in different teacher training colleges and universities, between tutors and lecturers and students, etc. 1, 2, 3. The intensification of interest in these issues comes especially in the wake of recent non-superficial reform policies regarding the recruitment, preparation, compensation, status and the professional development of teachers. Standards for admission to teacher education courses are becoming more stringent. 4 saw the reforms in teacher training in South Africa as signifying a ‘substantive and fundamental change’, and changes in teacher policy soon impact on teacher education.

1 has discovered that mergers and college incorporation provided significant opportunities for universities to grow student numbers and some have taken advantage of this to expand into complementary new fields and qualifications, while others have responded in a reactive and short-term manner to the opportunities offered [ 1: 87]. The reforms have unsettled old approaches to initial teacher education and, in 1’s view, led to the development of curricula in universities which have strategically adopted paradigm shifts that enable them to deal with complexity (difference and diversity), and seeing this as an opening or opportunity for change in mindset towards a more just and equitable education. This also impact on ITE, since candidates are going to be exposed to a curriculum grounded on an integral view where building intellectual ability is no longer enough, without an intrinsic motivation, or passion to transform the world 5.

We are experiencing a shift from narrowed down institutionalized and politicised models of ‘identity formation’, with their consequent societal hierarchisation and segregation, to more ‘personalistic’ approaches fine-tuned to combine the technical and ethical 6. Consequently, ITE will involve teaching the learner to ‘individuate’, to take personal responsibility for her own choices, and to be committed to them. The teaching profession must be personally appropriated. This is, among other things, in view of the role of voluntary ‘teacher learning communities’ where teachers from across schools come together to collaborate on issues that are relevant to them 7, 8. The upshot is that responsibilities for teacher training and growth simply cannot be left to bureaucrats in departments of education.

“A powerful future of teacher learning communities is that they lend themselves to teacher professional autonomy, where teachers of their own accord elect to participate in professional development initiatives of their own choice” 7. Darling-Hammond sums up what current teacher education reforms are targeting. “Singapore has shifted from just getting teachers – a key goal during the period of massive growth of its education system after independence model learning organization. Teachers and principals will constantly look out for new ideas and practices, and continuously refresh their own knowledge. Teaching will itself be a learning profession, like any other knowledge-based profession of the future” 9.

2. Comparative Approach to Understanding the New Teacher Policy Reforms

Ugandan National Teachers’ Policy 10 reform is in view of Uganda Vision 2040 prioritising “access of all to affordable quality education services”. A combination of ‘excellence and equity’ is crucial for achieving “a healthy, literate and well-informed society”, the result of a competent and effective teaching cadre [ 10, Section 2.1.4]. The National Teacher Policy (NTP) supports the realisation of this aspiration. The Teacher Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa (TISSA) study report of 2013 and the Education Sub-Sector Review meeting of 2016 by all stakeholders recommended to Government the development of a National Teacher Policy 10. Quality Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes shall: (a) Be holistic, and include both professional studies and specialised content and knowledge training, with a substantial focus on the research-informed pedagogy. (b) Focus on a mix of content, pedagogy, technology and soft skills as part of the curricula. This shall include adapting to emerging trends and the 21st century learning competences. (c) Integrate theory and practice effectively, (d) Facilitate the growth of strong learning communities through CPDs, (e) Incorporate mentoring and feedback mechanisms, generated through: (i) Formal supervision reports of graduate practicum programmes and experiences and (ii) Formal Mentor-Mentee Relationships reports [ 10, section 7.2.7].

In Uganda, the Government White Paper on Education of 1992 11 recommended professionalisation of the teaching profession to improve the quality of education and teachers. It assumed that “well-trained teachers not only have, a significant role to play in forging effective links between the school and the community and positively influencing national programmes but, also in preparing the critical human resource necessary for national development” [ 10, section 2.1.2]. In Uganda, especially in rural areas, much of teacher training has been in terms of a sort of apprenticeship informally taking place in the workplace, but outside the scope of the state’s mighty lens. The primary source of learning and teaching has been by imitation and modelling guided by experienced teachers.

Now, in favour of convergence, “The Uganda National Institute for Teacher Education (UNITE) shall be established as an Autonomous Organisation to coordinate and provide all levels of teacher education ranging from Initial Teacher Training to Graduate Training and CPDs” 10. This national body shall not only oversee the re-training of all teachers for a Bachelor’s Degree in the coming 10 years, but it will subsequently integrate and standardise operations at various teacher training levels. In effect, as it is in many other countries including South Africa, Europe, and Singapore, all teacher education including Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is being relocated to the university sector. In Uganda, “All teachers shall be university graduates with a Bachelor of Education Degree but specialising in either; pre-primary; primary education, lower secondary or higher secondary education and tertiary education” [ 10, section, 8.3]. In Finland, by comparison, the minimal requirement for one to teach at any level of education is a Master’s degree in Education integrating mastery of theoretical curricula content and pedagogical preparation, on the one hand, and research and practice one the other. Consequently,

“Teaching has become the most sought-after profession after medicine, and many teachers pursue a PhD and then remain in teaching. In a single generation, Finland leapt from a relatively poorly educated nation to a twenty-first-century powerhouse with a current literacy rate of 96%, high graduation and college-going rates and top scores in all areas on the PISA assessments. It is no coincidence that teachers are highly respected and supported” 9.

Of all parts of the UK, Northern Ireland led the way for the formation of integrated competences for the three stages of professional preparation (the three ‘I’s): initial, induction, and in-service. Each stage is overseen or supported by relevant authorities. Initial teacher education (led by higher institutions) is followed by a one-year induction period, in turn followed by a further two years of Early Professional Development (led by schools). In both Ugandan and the UK, there is a concern with extending initial professional learning into the first years of practice. “The only way to verify the truth and value of an option is to act upon it” (Marx, Thesis II on Feuerbach). According to 12, the induction year was introduced in England in 1999 and became mandatory in Wales in 2003. In Scotland, the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) was published in 2002, supposed by a guaranteed one year ‘training post’. In Uganda, “All teachers and educational managers shall undergo mandatory probation and induction training on assumption of duty except those with evidence indicating they have previously served probation by an accredited employer”. 10. In Northern Ireland, induction is not statutory and (unlike Wales) Early Professional Learning is not an entitlement. In Uganda, there is no mention of Early Professional Learning. But, like Northern Ireland, there is convergence on placement in schools. According to the new policy; “All teacher training institutions must have demonstration schools in line with their respective fields of teaching, subjects and levels of specialisation accordingly. This shall be done by converting nearby schools into demonstration schools” 10. In Northern Ireland, the approach is more flexible and less prescriptive. Partnership arrangements in ITE are voluntary and there is no transfer of funds to schools 12. In Finland, “Clinical learning takes place in special Teacher Training Schools, governed by the universities, which have similar curricula and practices as normal public schools, but which are committed to training beginning teachers and staffed by teachers who are especially selected for their teaching skills. These teachers are well prepared in supervision and teacher professional development and assessment strategies. Teacher Training Schools are also expected to pursue research and development roles in collaboration with the Department of Teacher Education and, sometimes, with the academic faculties who participate in teacher education. These schools can, therefore, introduce alternative curricular designs to student-teachers” 9.

In a fast-changing world, Ugandan preservice teachers are expected to leave school not only with “a (more) solid foundation in the subjects taught in school; we expect them to have the dispositions and skills of lifelong learners, the ability to think critically about complex issues; and the will to constantly adapt and grow as technology advances, and as political and ecological realities change” 10. The above comparative survey of global reform policies on teacher training shows how current Ugandan 10 and it focus on the ‘professionalisation of the teaching workforce’ imposes increased expectations and regulations for prospective teachers’ recruitment and preparation. In the traditional habit of thinking, pursuit of academic integrity and autonomy dictated that curricular and pedagogies in ITE are stripped of all ‘personal’ and ‘cultural’ determinations such that they remain merely with a logos, a purely rational discourse out of which the lecturer and preservice teacher as creatures of flesh and blood with own desires and emotions have evacuated themselves 13. However, the monopoly of epistemologically-oriented, scientific or positivistic modes of identity formation can no longer be taken for granted. Instead, they have to compete with phenomenologically-oriented, 21st century psychologised and moralised thinking habits.

3. Part II: Seeking a Middle Region between the Epistemological and the Phenomenological ITE and Scientific Practices (Necessary and Eternal Truths)

The scientific mode of ITE is inspired by the tradition of analytic philosophy, and its tendency to “think atomistically about human action and to analyze complex actions and transactions in terms of simple components” 14. In the view of the teaching profession as a ‘scientific practice’, the curriculum and pedagogy is shaped by a ‘limited subset of understandings’ from which to make indubitable judgements and conclusions about how one goes about the complexities of the teaching process. Such professionalism is not free from the lure of univocal mathesis inherent in analytic pedagogies (step-by-step lessor plans) designed to leave no possible room for error or ambiguity as to the roles of teachers and learners. Descartes’ legacy lives on, for proposed that (everywhere) we reduce complex and ambiguous propositions to simple axiomatic ones, and then proceed step by step fashion, starting with the intuition of the simplest ones of all, try to ascend through the same steps to knowledge of all the rest. The same lure of determinate thinking stretches back to Pythagoras and Plato. On Plato’s Academy was the script: Let no one who has not studied geometry enter here! There is already the privileging of stable and determinate, axiomatic statements that are ‘absolutely intelligible’ because uncompounded by any mixings of time (becoming, change, evolution). We consider an essay or lesson to ‘be scientific’ (therefore reflect scholarly seriousness) if it is organised, sequential, well-planned and detailed, in other words, mirroring the use of Hermann’s two quadrants of the left brain 15. We consider the curriculum to be objective if is composed of minimal, sequentially well-planned and detailed units ultimately composing a pre-given foundational corpus of universally-valid knowledge, to serve as a base for judgements and conclusions about all natural and social realities whatsoever.

Temporary, particular and contingent conclusions are bound to yield a partial understanding of reality, unlike the ‘universal validity’ accorded by scientific truths. Therefore, in an ITE grounded by the model of ‘scientific practices’, or epistemology, the local is intelligible only through the global and not the other way round. The curricula and pedagogical practices will be top-down, training teachers and learners to think with ‘intellectual abstraction’, that is, analytically and univocally, in opposition to (right brain) poetical, musical, playful, equivocal, metaphorically, critically or creatively. This polarisation is what renders the identity formation of modern professionals to be fundamentally flawed, and educational reforms to lack meaning. In the [ 10, section 7.10.1c]: “Teachers must appreciate their role in demonstrating 21st century competencies including communication, problem solving and critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and risk taking, digital literacy”.

There is a rough match here with Hermann’s ‘Whole Brain Theory’, the four brain quadrants (left frontal, left back, right frontal and left back) with their corresponding modes of thinking, are represented in complex ways among participants in a lesson. Some lean more on the left frontal which is Analytical (smart on logical reasoning, factual, technical, critical and quantitative analysis of data). These learners are achievement driven. Some lean more on the left back which is Sequential (smart on structured, organised, step-by-step, planned and detailed problems solving). These learners are task driven. The right back area is Imaginative (holistic, open-minded, integrating, intuitive, visualises bigger picture, long-term solutions). These learners are independence driven, challenging assumptions, innovative, creative. The right back is Interpersonal (sensory, kinaesthetic, feeling, emotional, spiritual). These learners are feeling-driven and work better in group interactions. The cognitive functions (or pathways), of all four-quadrants should be taken into account if teaching and learning activities are to become genuinely inclusive 15. Cognitive functions should comply with the learner's preferred mode of thinking/learning. In other words, they should be personalised. The teacher can no longer conduct teaching and learning in his/her own learning style preference without becoming insensitive and unjust. Empathy demands that teachers should present the learner with a learning environment that stimulates the use of the whole brain to develop the potential of each learner 15.

Following the recent reforms in Uganda, ITE should encourage zealous advocacy by teachers for the rights of the girl child, rights of learners with special needs, and the requirement to defer to learners’ choices and preferences 10. UNESCO’s Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century 16 complained that: Traditional responses to the demand for education that are essentially quantitative and knowledge-based are no longer appropriate. It is not enough to supply each child with a store of knowledge to be drawn on from then on. “Each individual must be equipped to seize learning opportunities throughout life, to broaden her or his knowledge, skills and attitudes, and to adapt to a changing, complex and interdependent world”. And as the world becomes more interdependent, the function of a classroom is bringing diverse peoples and cultures together into a learning community, with the constitutions of such communities as a norm

4. ITE and Social Practices (Contingent and Temporary Truths)

In the old model of teacher training, the concept of the individual was important since it led to specific, unambiguous role identities and relatively inflexible role performances. However, as 17 has noted, the new model of identity formation has shifted to the concept of person leading to ambiguous personal identity and flexible role performances. Abstract, standardised Kantian selves (who have bracketed their traditions, local morals and customs) are no longer produced 18. ITE cannot afford to be insensitive to the influence that cultural and personal (idiosyncratic) characteristics exert on the pre-service teacher’s understanding 19. They are not being shaped into ‘unsplittable atoms’ to became citizens of an impersonal, faceless, and technocratic and hence more systematic, contractualist modern state 19.

What happened with the epistemological tradition is more dangerous than just political hegemony. For the problem educational reforms have to deal with in the first place has to do with the ‘authentic selfhood’ of the teacher and learners. The professional teachers’ being and becoming (life as whole) is at stake. The professional locked up into a ‘disenchanted’ system is no longer a concrete person. The aura of mystery that goes with encounters with the person in his or her concrete appearance is absent from all modern institutional environments. 20 has instructively explained modes of encounter of the self with others. The one (predominant one) is the instrumental and disengaged, between atomistic selves but which nevertheless enables us to get things efficiently done so as to achieve our purposes. The Cartesian res cogitans (the abstract thinker) is mechanised to correspond to the res extensa (the Newtonian mechanical, clocklike universe) for efficient problem solving. However, modern discourses had become distanced from and foreign to the conversations of ordinary flesh and blood humans with their desires and emotions. That is why Fielding emphasises the personal, so to speak, enchanted, engaged, spirited, and warm. Impersonal classroom environments tend to lack the capacity to elicit personal enthusiasm. Emotions are suppressed in the interest of productive and rational discourses 13. Function or instrumental relations are defined by those purposes served in a contractual way. Whereas, personal relations exist in order to help us be and become ourselves in and through our relations with others and part of that being involves our mutual preparedness to be open and honest with each other about all aspects of our being. The joint activities we do with friends do not define the relationship, rather, they are expressive of it 20. The functions of teaching should provide the concrete, instrumental means by which the personal expresses itself, just as the personal needs these functions to realise itself. The social contract would not be turned into the social contact without the merging of both. So, according to 20, although the functional needs some element of the personal to achieve its purposes, it is for the sake of the personal. Fielding elaborates that the influence of the personal is transformative of the functional. “Ends and means must be inextricably linked; the means should themselves be transformed be the ends be which they are inspired and toward which they are aiming” 20.

“The crisis we currently face has its roots in the fact that our dominant practical and intellectual frameworks reverse the very relation I am advocating. In what I term the high performance model of schooling, the personal is used for the sake of the functional: students are included or excluded, valued or not, primarily on the basis of whether they contribute to organisational performance of the school. The pressure they and their teachers are put under to raise standards and improve performance marginalises the very educational aspirations that give schooling its justification and its purpose. Student complaints that schools do not care about them as persons, but only about them as bearers of results and measurable outcomes are now ubiquitous. The same is true of teachers” 20.

In effect, the transformation that 20’s philosophy of education demands is nothing less than an openness to encounter what has been overshadowed, the stranger who is more intimate to us than anyone else. Indeed, teacher training still skirts around the ideal of a concrete person interacting with other concrete persons, and thus engaging a lifelong adventure of personal growth. It encourages the picture of an abstract individual significant and situatable in a discursive field clearly separate from daily life, suppressing all cultural-linguistic or psychological, personal characteristics. It generates a logos, a discourse out of which the sender and receiver, as creatures of flesh and blood with their desires and emotions, have evacuated themselves 13.

That an ethics of care cannot take root in the public sphere is obvious. A public sphere de-personalised in the interest of serious, productive and rational intercourse enables the self to become autonomous (from previous communal, tribal or religious loyalties), with an autonomous discourse. However, the price paid by the modern professional for a scientifically and rationally-defined autonomy is that suppressed (or sublimated) internal forces (the lower, bodily, emotional) continuously threaten to overwhelm the rational ego. One must yield communal ties in favour test scores or measurable outcomes achieved. One must suppress one’s inner desires so that one acquires intellectual mastery 18. This is a serious professional weakness not having to do with scientific practice as such, but the lack of a middle position in which the functional and the personal might interact in both a controlled and de-controlled way 13. In seeking ‘absolute’ control and prediction, and thus standardisation and homogenisation of everything, modern systems have tended to create valuelessness, or emptiness within institutions, and then tried to fill that with ‘even more empty promises’ of financial rewards or material progress for the more atomistic professionals.

In ITE programs grounded on ‘scientific practice’, epistemic authority, as Paul Freire notes, is confused by the teacher for his/her own professional authority, which she or he sets in opposition to the students’ freedom. “The teacher chooses the program content and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it”. And we add, since cramming and memorisation is the dominant mode of teaching and learning in Uganda, “the more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world. The more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality imposed on them” 21. We have seen already seen how reforms in 10 emphasise critical thinking, but how does this happen if a hierarchy of thinking styles is uncritically endorsed by the overall system?

The assumption for proponents of ‘determinate thinking’ is that if ‘one says one thing today and another tomorrow’, the audience is lost, uncertain, fearsome, and anxious 22. This argument has lent support to an ITE (especially at the primary school level) that fosters the teacher’s image to be exclusively univocal, managerial, restrictive and controlling. Citing experiences from South African reforms, 1 warns us that we are bound to have serious debates, including disagreements regarding the specific nature of ITE required for ‘different school phases’, the pre-primary, the primary and the secondary school 1. In the light of such complexities, Ugandan teachers are certainly expected to be more than the classical modern professional, that is, more than “a prospective and potential legislator to create order, to set and supervise boundaries and standards, to combat deviation” 13. The task of maintaining scholarly standards still remains important to ITE programs. What is new is that the question of academic freedom or professional integrity is increasingly becoming a practical question. One must prove the truth, i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his/her thinking, in actual practice.

ITE discourses, will henceforth draw their power of persuasion from concrete communication contexts, backed by the latest research findings, and preservice teachers’ practical engagements which come across as personally engaging. What I mean here is that just as play does for children, a personally engaging practice is the means by which the pre-service teacher exteriorises him/herself 17. Such practice should develop in the teacher the sensitivity for his/her contingent factors such as personal characteristics, but which exhibit the uniqueness of his/her self (ethos). “Implicit nature reveals unique nature” 17. The practice makes teaching, to use the words of Wittgenstein, to become a ‘way of life’. The realisation of ideas into practice is the bringing together of ‘scientific practice’ and ‘social practice’, and thus enabling the self to be a maker of its own reality.

A central issue with which institutions of higher education in Uganda will have to grapple in regard to ITE, is the predominance of ‘scientific practices’, including exam-oriented teaching. Even teacher training colleges and universities are still very hierarchical, characterised by relatively inflexible role performances. Habits of constructing one’s own identity by means of interaction with others (weak framing), and learning to cope with ambiguities and ambivalences, taking risks, working by negotiated rules that are ‘by and large precarious and under-determined’ are encouraged by National Teacher Policy, but they remain quite foreign. Thus, their structures characterised as discipline-based, gated communities maintaining hierarchical distances between administrators, academics, and fee-paying students. Competitiveness, scoring high grades (quantifiable) is more prevalent than ‘becoming a better person’ (qualitatively).

It is not by chance that the phenomenological perspective encouraged an ecological view of interpersonal relations which is no longer two-way (I-Thou, transactional), but inextricably related selves including the lecturer (the I), the pre-service teacher (Thou), and other collaborating partners in the learning process. While the modern self enters into relations with others on a rational, contractual basis, the new self is a ‘tributary to others’. This is the basis for a view of teaching and learning as a ‘social practical’, and a view of ITE containing elements of both the directive and non-directive, while avoiding extremes. It involves listening, clarifying, emotionally and intellectually encouraging. Sharp oppositions are discouraged. Classroom experiences must be liberated from abstract frameworks (politicisation) and be personalised. There is thus a central collaborative role of encouraging rapport and mutual respect, communication, reciprocity, conflict management, group decision making, and platforms. The subject still seeks meaning, but instead of turning inward to discover an inner essence (reason or intellect) which one outwardly expresses, one seeks ‘networks of relationships’ in relation to their role in the production of meaning or unique ‘interpretation of reality’. That is why the 10 encourages learning communities where preservice teachers openly share their views, including their personal vulnerabilities, failures, and frustrations 7, 10. The goal is not only to enhance ‘efficient delivery’ of the subject matter, but to ground that on deep ‘personal’ meaning and purpose in view of transforming one’s lifeworld 7.

In South Africa, ITE and CPD program developers have been accused of not ‘duly reckoning’ the historical fact that apartheid education created huge inequalities in education 7. A great deal of effort is still spent by university curricula and pedagogies, including ITE programs, to enable the educated to preserve confidence in the old category system of the ‘middle class of educated elite’. Yet the goals of Initial Teacher Education in particular, and professionalism in general, is shifting from reproducing public trustees serving the public interest of imposing order (and preventing deviation) to humble servants of the public’s interest 23. The new ITE tells us that learning environments are to be managed in a way analogous to a popular democracy, governed by citizens’ voting decisions. The notion of the public good is not gone, but it looks different now—it is not a stable or unchanging consensus but rather a constantly negotiated and changing point of momentary convergence 24. 24 tells us that “In a post-Foucauldian world, expertise, science, and the professions can seem like a source of false consciousness, a threat to liberty, and a means by which certain forms and hierarchies perpetuate themselves. It is, however, possible that the professions can also serve to forge a more just and equal society” 24. The reforms in Initial Teacher Education in South African attest to this optimism. According to 1’s investigations in South African reform policy implementations, universities which were optimistic did better at ITE curricula innovations. In universities where reforms had a strong direct impact on ITE, there was an inclusive and open approach. “These universities have to develop new approaches and curricula based on complex organisational dynamics that include multiple academic voices with potentially contrasting histories and identities, potentially giving rise to contestation and requiring considerable energy to negotiate and create synergy—the cases of CPUT, UKZN and NWU” 1.

Establishing working relations among people with diverse backgrounds is as challenging as it is astonishing. In a post-apartheid South Africa: “The challenge at University of KwaZulu Natal, for example, is to establish working relationships between groups of staff who have come from a college, a historically advantaged university with two geographic locations and a historically disadvantaged university, each with their own distinct ethos, focus and programmes” 1.

There are continuing consequences, of historical experiences of imperial nation state formation under conditions of ideological and epistemic control, within contemporary educational reforms. Reduction in contrasts, of sharp opposition, increase in variation, or a process of increasing informalisation as a gradual process. In cases where formalism prevails in processes of coalition, 1’s research yielded ‘a medium degree’ of direct impact on Initial Teacher Education reforms. “In these cases—Unisa, NMMU, and Free State—a single institution dominated incorporation and the merger, and only a small number of academics from one or more of the other parties are retained as a minority within the newly-created institution. This means that the structures, curricula and staff of the dominant party tend to determine the approach and practice in the new institution” 1.

For reforms to make sense, ITE needs to replace the interpositional with the interpersonal 17. So much of our thinking has been imprisoned in the past. But, at the same time, we are working in the present and into the future. In this regard, there is within the 10 a constant duty to ‘work on oneself’, to be a life-long learner. This reconstitutes the professional “self as an enterprise” 25. Foucault referred to this notion in relation to the ‘intensification of the relation to oneself by which one constituted oneself as the subject of one’s acts’ 26. It is related to Bourdieu’s morality of pleasure, as opposed to the ‘generalised suspicion of the ‘charming and attractive, a fear of pleasure and a relation to the body made up of ‘reserve’, ‘modesty’ and ‘restraint’ 27. Being subject of one’s acts is to avoid placing experiences and problems in a more general and abstract framework (politicisation) and instead, personalise them much more via moralisation and psychologisation 27. This can only happen when one is relating to others (children) through play, as Bernstein (1975: 118) tells us, or in emotional-affective communities where material utility is less important than symbolic or sign value 13, 18.

Therefore, the new sort of expert ITE aims at “need not be reduced to a market actor, seeking her own interest or that of her principal” 24. The decline of the contractual does not mean that the integrity of the professional teacher is extinct, but rather, that her contribution ought to be understood in more that market terms. A market or political interpretation of teacher motivation would threaten the kind of relations embodying personal values of care, trust, loyalty and judgement. Shared empathies, styles, interests, give birth to ‘affective tribes’ or proto-communities that, in the Ugandan National Teachers Policy are going to be the bedrock of Continuing Professional Development for teachers tracking personally preferred specialisation pathways 10. One is obviously moving from what Jameson (1984) termed a depth stage model of autonomous selves with inner (rational) essence and outward expression, to a surface model of an interconnected selfhood constituted in a network of relationships. 24 tells us that the ideal of professionals as public trustees serving the public good (social contract) was credible in a time when people voluntarily submitted to the authority of experts. “Because they gain their power through knowledge-not wealth or political prestige-professionals are uniquely suited to ascertain what is best for the public as a whole and to suppress their own immediate interests in achieving it” [ 24, p. 651].

In the 19th and much of 20th century, professionals gained their power and status from knowledge not from any direct personal gain. In the 21st century they need not think beyond their own personal interest to pursue the social good. Everything the 21st century person does is meant to be fully engaging and pleasurable, therefore, the importance of a society segmented and fragmented in often ephemeral, emotional-affective communities. Such professionals are no longer expected to understand (or serve) the long-term interests of the public, such that they substitute their own immediate gain for a greater good such as a nationalistic ideology, promoting social integration, supra-communal homogeneity, and assimilation of lower into the dominant high culture. Between the peoples’ and the state, one need not posit someone ‘neutral’ (abstract) to objectively adjudicate without being subsumed by either the destructive forces of the market or the corrupting nature of state power. This is mainly due to the fact that today, in the light of post-structuralism, philosophers like Foucault, and the left-wing movement in general, such a vision of an objective (epistemological) professionalism seems outdated and naive.

Everything is dangerous. “My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So, my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism. I think that the ethico-political choice we have to make every day is to determine which is the main danger” 26.

“Now, it is hard not to see that the more diffuse power is, the more dangerous and insipid a form of social control. Belonging to social groups, willingly giving in to their norms and structures can be both liberating and threatening” [ 24, p. 279]. ITE does not merely reproduce managers, but activists. What one needs is a kind of critical thinking that challenges settled convictions and commitments, including the legitimacy of the modern caricature of a liberal self. This explains why ITE is going to be less dependent on prescribed ‘scientific practices’ and become more like ‘social practices’ where participants diagnose their needs, interests and capabilities as ‘concrete’ and unique persons.

5. Conclusion and Implications

It is not incidental nor purely coincidental that ‘social practice’, and the phenomenological movement radically extends (and completes) the ‘scientific’ and epistemological quest for truth and justice in Western professional discourses and engagements. The fact that the ideals of truth and justice are made present in concrete words and deeds of a teacher in a caring and loving teaching and learning environment directly refers to the his/her being as the foundation of his/her acting and speaking: ‘Actions flow forth from being’ (agere sequitur esse – doing follows being). The 10 mentions pathways like guidance and counselling, special needs education, among others. There is need, from the very beginning, for the preservice teacher (during Initial Teacher Education) to appreciate the ‘significance’ of a life dedicated to love and care, ‘in persona’ (not in abstraction). For it is then that the teacher’s message and praxis are rooted in his/her deepest personal being, from an essential bond with those who need care. This kind of ethically-bound teacher can be nothing else in all freedom than as a ‘caring teacher’.

Secondly, she does care for the other with a vulnerability that can appear absurd to the classical modern professional, since the relationship the Ugandan teacher has with the slow learners, children from poor and violent home backgrounds, or the numerous female learners who has undergone sexual abuse or got pregnant during the Covid-19 lockdowns, is through a radical ethical decision to attend to their ‘plea’ (a heteronomy). That is why, teacher’s esteem cannot be recovered in the same (autonomous) way as before, but as symbolic of an ethic that begins with a radical asymmetry: the other is prior to myself. In Levinasian philosophy the heteronomous responsibility to-and-for-the-other person begins as the interruption or the disturbance of the order and assurance of my own being, due to a visible suffering ‘from elsewhere’ that calls to me and engages me despite myself. In the 21st century the identity of the teacher is going to be sought in a very personal (and ethical) experience, a vocation that undoes ‘attachment to oneself’ (être en soi) in favour of ‘being for a vulnerable other’ (être pour soi) in need.

Based on the contemporary educational needs, ITE ought to prepare teacher trainees how to teacher the 21st Century skills and how to assess the same skills. However, we also recognise the need for teacher trainees to acquire the same skills which they aspire to pass on or develop among the learners. We also recognise the view that the competences teacher trainees require to teacher the 21st Century skills develop over time and this requires that teacher training institutions develop a conducive and supportive culture through which these competences can be nurtured.

References

[1]  Kruss G. (2008). Trajectories of restructuring: The changing context for Initial Teacher Education in South Africa, Southern African Review of Education, 14, 1-2.
In article      
 
[2]  Butt & Gunter, (2005) Conceptualising Research in Educational Leadership, in Christopher Chapman & Helen Gunter (eds.) Radical Reforms: Perspectives on an era of educational change.
In article      
 
[3]  Sandy, M. V. (2006). Timing is everything: Building state policy on teacher credentialing in an era of multiple competing and rapid education reforms. Issues in Teacher Education. 15(1): 7-19.
In article      
 
[4]  Sayed. Y. (2002). Changing forms of teacher education reforms in South Africa: Case study of policy change. International Journal of Education Development, 22 (3-4), 381-395.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Dumont, H., Istance, D & Benavides, F. (eds.), (2010), The Nature of Learning Using Research to Inspire Practice, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Kools, M & Stoll L. (2016) What makes the school a learning organisation? OECD Education Working Papers, no 137. OECD Publishing Paris.
In article      
 
[7]  Maistry, S.M (2008) towards collaboration rather than cooperation for effective professional development of teachers in South African: Insights from social practice theory. Southern African Review of Education, 14, (1-2).
In article      
 
[8]  Christie P., Harley K. & penny A. (2004). Case studies from sub-Saharan Africa. In Day C. & Sachs J (eds). International Handbook on Continuing Professional Development of Teachers. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
In article      
 
[9]  Darling-Hammond. Linda. (2017). Teacher Education around the world: What we learn from international practice? European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 291-309.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Ministry of Education and Sports (2019). The National Teacher Policy, Kampala: MoES.
In article      
 
[11]  The Government White Paper. (1992). Policy Review Report: Education for National Integration and Development. Republic of Uganda . Kampala: Uganda Publications Corporation
In article      
 
[12]  Hulme, M. & Menter, I. (2008). Learning to teach in post-devolution UK: A technical or an ethical process? Southern African Review of Education, 14, (1-2).
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Featherstone, M., (1992). Postmodernism and the Aesthetisation of Everyday life, pp265-290, In S. Lash & Friedman (ed). Modernity and identity, Oxford: Blackwell.
In article      
 
[14]  MacIntyre, A. (2007). After Virtue: A study in moral theory. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
In article      
 
[15]  Hermann N. (1996). The Whole Brain Business Book, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
In article      
 
[16]  Delors J. (2010). Learning: The treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the international commission on education for the 21st century. UNESCO Publishing, Paris.
In article      
 
[17]  Bernstein, B. (1975). Class, Codes, and control. Vol. 3: Towards a Theory of Educational Transmissions. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
In article      
 
[18]  Bauman, Z., (1992). Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge.
In article      
 
[19]  Gellner, E. (1992). Reason and Culture: The historical role of rationality and rationalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
In article      
 
[20]  Fielding, M. (2006). Leadership, Radical Student engagement and the necessity of person-centred education. International journal of leadership in education 9(4). 299-313.
In article      View Article
 
[21]  Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Desmond, W. (1995). Being and the Between. State University of New York Press.
In article      
 
[23]  Clark C.M (2001). Talking shop: Authentic conversations and teacher learning. New York: Teacher College Press.
In article      
 
[24]  Roiphe. R, 2016. The Decline of Professionalism, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, . 29, New York Law School.
In article      
 
[25]  Bonner F. & Du Gay, P. (1992) Representing the enterprising self: thirtysomething and contemporary consumer culture, pp. 120-137 in J. Curran & M. Gurevitch (eds) Theory, Culture, and Society. 9(2), 67-92.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Foucault M. (1986) Care of the Self. New York: Pantheon Books.
In article      
 
[27]  Bourdieu. P. (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, transl. Nice R. London: Routledge & Keagan Paul.
In article      
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2022 Cornelius Ssempala, Peter Mpiso Ssenkusu and John Mary Vianney Mitana

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Cornelius Ssempala, Peter Mpiso Ssenkusu, John Mary Vianney Mitana. Initial Teacher Training in the Wake of Uganda’s National Teacher Policy and Covid-19 Lockdown: A Technical or Ethical Challenge?. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 10, No. 1, 2022, pp 46-53. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/10/1/5
MLA Style
Ssempala, Cornelius, Peter Mpiso Ssenkusu, and John Mary Vianney Mitana. "Initial Teacher Training in the Wake of Uganda’s National Teacher Policy and Covid-19 Lockdown: A Technical or Ethical Challenge?." American Journal of Educational Research 10.1 (2022): 46-53.
APA Style
Ssempala, C. , Ssenkusu, P. M. , & Mitana, J. M. V. (2022). Initial Teacher Training in the Wake of Uganda’s National Teacher Policy and Covid-19 Lockdown: A Technical or Ethical Challenge?. American Journal of Educational Research, 10(1), 46-53.
Chicago Style
Ssempala, Cornelius, Peter Mpiso Ssenkusu, and John Mary Vianney Mitana. "Initial Teacher Training in the Wake of Uganda’s National Teacher Policy and Covid-19 Lockdown: A Technical or Ethical Challenge?." American Journal of Educational Research 10, no. 1 (2022): 46-53.
Share
[1]  Kruss G. (2008). Trajectories of restructuring: The changing context for Initial Teacher Education in South Africa, Southern African Review of Education, 14, 1-2.
In article      
 
[2]  Butt & Gunter, (2005) Conceptualising Research in Educational Leadership, in Christopher Chapman & Helen Gunter (eds.) Radical Reforms: Perspectives on an era of educational change.
In article      
 
[3]  Sandy, M. V. (2006). Timing is everything: Building state policy on teacher credentialing in an era of multiple competing and rapid education reforms. Issues in Teacher Education. 15(1): 7-19.
In article      
 
[4]  Sayed. Y. (2002). Changing forms of teacher education reforms in South Africa: Case study of policy change. International Journal of Education Development, 22 (3-4), 381-395.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Dumont, H., Istance, D & Benavides, F. (eds.), (2010), The Nature of Learning Using Research to Inspire Practice, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Kools, M & Stoll L. (2016) What makes the school a learning organisation? OECD Education Working Papers, no 137. OECD Publishing Paris.
In article      
 
[7]  Maistry, S.M (2008) towards collaboration rather than cooperation for effective professional development of teachers in South African: Insights from social practice theory. Southern African Review of Education, 14, (1-2).
In article      
 
[8]  Christie P., Harley K. & penny A. (2004). Case studies from sub-Saharan Africa. In Day C. & Sachs J (eds). International Handbook on Continuing Professional Development of Teachers. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
In article      
 
[9]  Darling-Hammond. Linda. (2017). Teacher Education around the world: What we learn from international practice? European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 291-309.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Ministry of Education and Sports (2019). The National Teacher Policy, Kampala: MoES.
In article      
 
[11]  The Government White Paper. (1992). Policy Review Report: Education for National Integration and Development. Republic of Uganda . Kampala: Uganda Publications Corporation
In article      
 
[12]  Hulme, M. & Menter, I. (2008). Learning to teach in post-devolution UK: A technical or an ethical process? Southern African Review of Education, 14, (1-2).
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Featherstone, M., (1992). Postmodernism and the Aesthetisation of Everyday life, pp265-290, In S. Lash & Friedman (ed). Modernity and identity, Oxford: Blackwell.
In article      
 
[14]  MacIntyre, A. (2007). After Virtue: A study in moral theory. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
In article      
 
[15]  Hermann N. (1996). The Whole Brain Business Book, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
In article      
 
[16]  Delors J. (2010). Learning: The treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the international commission on education for the 21st century. UNESCO Publishing, Paris.
In article      
 
[17]  Bernstein, B. (1975). Class, Codes, and control. Vol. 3: Towards a Theory of Educational Transmissions. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
In article      
 
[18]  Bauman, Z., (1992). Intimations of Postmodernity. London: Routledge.
In article      
 
[19]  Gellner, E. (1992). Reason and Culture: The historical role of rationality and rationalism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
In article      
 
[20]  Fielding, M. (2006). Leadership, Radical Student engagement and the necessity of person-centred education. International journal of leadership in education 9(4). 299-313.
In article      View Article
 
[21]  Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin.
In article      View Article
 
[22]  Desmond, W. (1995). Being and the Between. State University of New York Press.
In article      
 
[23]  Clark C.M (2001). Talking shop: Authentic conversations and teacher learning. New York: Teacher College Press.
In article      
 
[24]  Roiphe. R, 2016. The Decline of Professionalism, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, . 29, New York Law School.
In article      
 
[25]  Bonner F. & Du Gay, P. (1992) Representing the enterprising self: thirtysomething and contemporary consumer culture, pp. 120-137 in J. Curran & M. Gurevitch (eds) Theory, Culture, and Society. 9(2), 67-92.
In article      View Article
 
[26]  Foucault M. (1986) Care of the Self. New York: Pantheon Books.
In article      
 
[27]  Bourdieu. P. (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, transl. Nice R. London: Routledge & Keagan Paul.
In article