As we celebrate World Teacher's Day, Next Generation Schools in Uganda celebrates their first teacher training with Varkey Gems Foundation which took place in August this year, organized with supervision from the Ministry of Education and Sports, to improve the quality of learning in both primary and secondary schools. We recognize the importance of sharing practices not just locally but globally, of bringing international expertise to Africa and of the learning experience that works both ways from such programs.
Next Generation Schools was launched three years ago with the mission to adopt poorly-run public schools in rural areas of Uganda to better the standards of education and the learning environment in various ways -- from teacher training and motivation to increasing classrooms and introducing sustainable agriculture and other programs.
The training with Varkey Gems Foundation has been significant in bringing together teachers and schools working under various NGOs and in allowing teacher trainers from international schools to understand the differing needs and challenges in schools in Uganda, in order to adapt the program for the next training program to take place next year. This comes at a time when the teaching profession in Uganda is in deep despair -- the teacher student ratios in some areas are as high as 1:140 or above; many commute long distances to school. Given the limited accommodation facilities in the school premises, and with low salaries, they struggle each day to fulfill their family's needs and responsibilities. We certainly hope, despite the neglect thus far, that there is some hope of an increase in salary and recognition of teachers' significant contribution to the future of the country. As a result of such low job satisfaction, there are of course many teachers that leave their positions quickly and there are others who continue without annual salary increment for even a single financial year during their teaching careers.
Changes need to be made, there should be better management of teachers' salaries, errant district officials involved in submissions and payroll management of teachers should be held accountable, and of course the Ugandan Government needs to invest in the education sector. Through our work at Next Generation Schools, we have realized that programs of capacity building and motivation of teachers through teacher training and peer support supervision are instrumental in uplifting teacher morale and the quality of teachers in Uganda.
And it is such NGOs that have sown a seed and begun a process that will -- one child and one school at a time progress education in Uganda and, ensure that tomorrow's citizens will be equipped with the tools they need to advance themselves, their families and be a part of the Africa of tomorrow, an Africa that is rising in the global marketplace.
In honor of World Teacher Day, The Huffington Post Impact in partnership with The Varkey GEMS Foundation will devote one month to stories highlighting the need for global change -- including staggering statistics, student anecdotes that put a face on these numbers and teachers making a difference.