The idea of putting graduates back to school to obtain more durable skills is gaining momentum with political leaders suggesting that it is the only viable way to fight growing unemployment in the country.
The former Chief Administrative Officer of Masaka district Joseph Mukwaya told The Sunrise in an exclusive interview that there is need for government to introduce a skilling programme for university graduates so that they can create their own jobs.
Mukwaya’s plea follows a vow by President Yoweri Museveni to take youth who graduate with ‘irrelevant’ courses, to go back to school and acquire vocational skills.
While officiating at the 17th anniversary of Universal Free Primary Education at Kololo Airstrip over the weekend, Museveni said his government wants to create a fund that will support graduates to obtain relevant vocational skills required by the job market.
Museveni is quoted to have said: “You may have done Social Work and Social Administration (SWASWA), Social Sciences, Development studies, literature… If you did not get a job, w want to create a fund where you can say that I did Greek and Latin and since there are no people who need Greek, I can get skills to do metal work,” the President told t
The proposals come ahead of a major government plan known as Skilling Uganda that was meant to be gradually introduced in all secondary schools in the country to help impart vocational skills in pupils.
But the programme has faced challenges ranging from lack of government commitment to its implementation. Government critics point at the diversion of Ushs 800m that had been allocated to the programme in the 2014/15 budget, which was diverted to paying teachers salaries following a strike.
Mukwaya has however urged the government to put more effort in boosting technical education across the Country because they help to empower young people with durable skills.
Calls for introduction of vocational skills in the education sector, add momentum to a growing debate on the relevance of Uganda’s education system. A number of experts continue to criticize the theoretical-biased education syllabus in primary, secondary and other higher institutions of learning.
While officiating at the 5th graduation ceremony of Royal Institute of Business and Technical Education in Bwaise on Friday, Mukwaya urged President Museveni to visit the school to borrow a leaf on how vocational schools can transform the lives of people.
‘’All the courses that are taught at Royal Institute a wondering courses today such as Salon and Hairdressing, provide ready jobs out there, yet they don’t require a lot of capital.”
‘’I do appeal to President Museveni to come here or a visit and borrow a leaf from this Institute because when you bypass Bwaise you can not get to know that there is a very organized Institute therefore it is very hard to notice that there is pleasure at Bwaise’.