The Japanese ambassador to Uganda, Kameda Kazuaki, has assured Ugandans that it continue assisting Uganda in vocational education, as the country moves to reach middle income status by 2020.
Speaking at the fifth graduation ceremony of Datamine Technical Business School in Kampala last Thursday, Kazuaki said practical and technical skills are critical for the country’s growth.
“As a matter of fact, people with technical skills and knowledge have been the backbone of the Japanese society to rebuild itself from the ashes of the World War II…,” Kazuaki said. “Without these eager minds with passion to learn such skills, Japan could not have grown so quickly and firmly.”
The ambassador, who presided at the function as chief guest, made the remarks after he was impressed with projects like the solar-powered bicycle and lawn mowers that were unveiled by graduands from the institute’s engineering department.
“The Japanese embassy will continue to encourage companies from Japan to invest in Uganda. I hope that when they decide to visit Uganda, they will be able to find highly-skilled people who will be ready to be engaged,” he said.
At the ceremony, 732 students from the Kampala and Masaka campuses were awarded with diplomas and certificates in technical and business courses such as solar systems engineering, mobile phone repair and motor vehicle engineering. Of these, 318 were female and 414 male.
Datamine’s managing director, Mathias Mpuuga, said at least 80 per cent of their graduates can find jobs within two years after graduation.
“This is a clear testimony that vocational education can help students find their bearing in the labour market. There is no shortcut to this,” Mpuuga said.
Mpuuga, who is also Masaka municipality MP, implored government to commit more resources to vocational education as well as support private colleges that have taken the lead in the same field.
Datamine students are tasked to undertake special projects as part of their examinations that lead to graduation. This time, projects from the engineering department stood out, according to the Datamine principal, Deo Nyanzi.
Graduands made a solar-powered bicycle as well as an efficient solar mower, used for slashing without using fuel or making noise. These were also unveiled. Nyanzi explained that the mower carries a small battery that can run for at least two days if fully charged.
“A general second-hand mower on the market from Katwe cost between Shs 1.8m and Shs 2m but this one will cost Shs 1m. We are now seeking for people to partner with and promote these products since they require a lot of funding,” Nyanzi said.
The 14-year-old institution has also imported the computerized numerical control machines worth Shs 450m to train more students in advanced engineering and the production of spare parts for vehicles and machines across the country.