The current state of teacher’s hygiene leaves a lot to be desired about the noble profession, the Education and Sports Minister, Janet Kataha Museveni has observed.
Speaking at the opening of the second National Teacher’s Symposium in Kampala on Wednesday, Janet said many teachers have forgotten the proper image a teacher is supposed to have.
She noted with concern the deterioration of hygiene among teachers, which she said brings shame to one of the oldest and most noble professions in the world. The minister said some teachers have forgotten how to bathe, maintain oral hygiene and even how to comb their hair.
Mrs. Museveni wondered how teachers, who cannot maintain proper hygiene, can be expected to teach learners how to maintain proper hygiene. She also said teachers no longer inspect the hygiene of learners in schools because there seems not to be a standard.
Dr. Jane Egau, the Commissioner in Charge of Teacher Instruction, Education and Training, noted that the current trend among teachers is worrisome.
While the Education Ministry has a policy on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene that requires schools to maintain a specific toilet to pupil ratio and provide water and soap for hand washing, the policy doesn’t address body hygiene.
Dr. Egau says the Ministry is going to incorporate hygiene classes in future continuous professional courses for teachers. She says the Ministry is going to standardize the teacher’s dress code to ensure they are smart and clean as they stand before learners.
School administrators intimated that teachers had become shabby due to the current fashion trends. Benard Egesa, the Deputy Head teacher Kitante Primary School, says some teachers dress like they are TV personalities as they go to class.
“With the hiring of younger teachers, we get teachers who want to dress in a fashionable way. But most times this fashion is not fit for a classroom,” Egesa said.
Edward Kanoonya, the head teacher of Kololo Secondary School, says conducting random hygiene checks on learners is hard.
“Before students enter the school gate, they are supposed to be checked by the teacher on duty. But at times the numbers can be too big for a teacher to check whether all the girls entering the school premises have cut finger nails and clean under garments,” Kanoonya said.