On 7th December, 2023 UNATU held the 14th Women’s Round Table Conference which took place at Pope Paul VI Memorial Hotel in Kampala. The annual gathering, brought together National female delegates from 175 local governments within UNATU’s structures. This was an opportunity for female educators to discuss pertinent issues that affect Quality Education and make resolutions to them. The theme for the conference was “The female teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the female teachers shortage.”
The objectives of the conference were;
- Celebrate the social, economic, and political achievements of female leaders.
- Advocate for increased women participation in union activities.
- Provide basic skills training in making shampoo and liquid soap.
The National Chairperson’s Perspective
Tumuhimbise Zadock, the National Chairperson, expressed gratitude for the dedication of female delegates in driving gender and women empowerment initiatives. He highlighted the unique achievement of sustaining these Round Table Conferences. emphasizing the crucial role of the theme in addressing the global female teacher shortage. The National Chair called for comprehensive identification of root causes and feasible recommendations to the government. The National Chair also challenged each delegate to proactively recruit and retain female teachers within UNATU.
Call to the Youth:
The General Secretary’s Perspective
Baguma Filbert, The General Secretary of UNATU brought attention to the vital aspect of sustainability through the involvement of the youth. He stressed the importance of incorporating young minds for the future resilience of the union. A reminder of the ongoing commitment to growth and inclusivity within the union.
Salute to Female Educators:
The Secretary for Women Affairs’ Address
Nabirye Teddy saluted the collective effort of female educators and their invaluable contribution to Ugandan children. She emphasised the alarming global teacher shortage, advocating for increased investment in the recruitment and retention of female teachers. Teddy emphasised the commitment of the National Executive Council’s (NEC) towards gender and women empowerment. She also highlighted their gratitude for providing practical skills training at the conference. Teddy’s call echoed, urging everyone to empower one another, share knowledge and bear in mind that, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
Journey and Wisdom:
Keynote address from Dr. Victoria Kisaakye Kanobe
Dr. Victoria Kisaakye Kanobe, a Senior Program Coordinator from the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), shared her inspiring journey from a teacher to a holder of five qualifications, including a doctorate in Health Education. Her message echoed the importance of mentors like Hon. Rwabushaija Margaret and Professor Betty Ezati.
Dr. Victoria emphasized the significance of skill, passion, and professionalism in pursuing dreams. She issued a call to action for female teachers to take up leadership positions and recognise their essential role in influencing learning. She highlighted the absence of female teachers’ voices in decision-making processes, reforms, laws, and policies. Dr. Victoria also illuminated the touching reality of stress in the workplace places including multiple responsibilities, low pay, and upgrading issues among many female teachers which added depth to her insightful presentation.
A Tale of Faith and Determination
Motivational speech from Teacher Natureeba Precious
Natureeba Precious, an inspiring educator on an incredible journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of education. Beginning as a grade three classroom teacher, Natureeba navigated challenges to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Administration and Planning. Hailing from Kahungye Nyabubare in Igara West, Bushenyi district, her story is one of resilience and unwavering support from her family. Her educational pursuits are driven by faith, trust in God, and a desire for economic independence. As a woman in education, she emphasized the importance of inspiring others, impacting humanity, and challenging cultural perceptions. Natureeba’s narrative echoed a call to unite in purpose and profession, emphasizing that the female teachers needed for the education we want are among usand they are passionate, capable, and ready to make a difference.
Insights from the guest speaker Prof. Betty Ezati, School of Education, Makerere University
Prof. Betty Ezati, emerged as a beacon of wisdom during her presentation at the UNATU 14th Women’s Round Table Conference. With a profound understanding of the pivotal role female educators play in shaping the quality of education, Prof. Ezati emphasized their hard and heartfelt work. Delving into the conference theme, she posed crucial questions about inspiring girls, ensuring the influence of female teachers, and retaining them in schools. Prof. Ezati’s recommendations highlighted the importance of being role models, creating positive work environments, addressing teacher workload, pursuing self-improvement, and advocating for higher education. Her insights emphasized reducing self-pity, encouraging learners, promoting financial literacy, and empowering educators to envision their own future. Prof. Betty Ezati’s transformative vision echoed a powerful call to action for the female educational community to collectively shape a brighter future for themselves. Her parting words resonated, “Where do you want to be tomorrow, lies in your hands today.” She asked, “How do you plan what you want to do tomorrow?, what is in your plan?”.
In response to the urgent call at UNATU’s 14th Women’s Round Table Conference, let’s unite, female educators! The global shortage of female teachers is a challenge, but we can bridge the gap. Lets proactively identify root causes and presenting solutions to the government, empowering each other to assume significant leadership roles, pursue higher education and lets be role models.