Education Minister Janet Museveni has pledged to expeditiously consider a long-standing request to turn Uganda Technical College Kichwamba into an Institute of Technology. The move will enable Kichwamba to grant degrees and other postgraduate qualifications.
“I will consider your request and make a decision accordingly, in due course,” she said, last week.
The minister’s pledge came during her remarks at the institution’s 14th graduation ceremony, at which 527 students were awarded diplomas and certificates.
Ms Museveni said she was impressed with many of the projects at the institution, including fabrication of metal products, overhauling of motor engines, electrical works and construction of buildings in Kichwamba.
“We will support UTC Kichwamba with a Shs 400m grant this financial year, which will enable you to rehabilitate Kichwamba primary school, using the efforts of the students,” she said. “That way we can be able to say investment in education pays off.”
However, she was concerned that only 16 per cent of the graduands were female. “It is time for us to think outside the box and improve on this,” she added.
“I’m commissioning you to go out there and work with integrity and professionalism.”
Earlier, the college principal, Dr Moses Twesigye-omwe, reported that there was increased demand for tertiary education, but a shortage of accommodation space, which was partly responsible for the low admission numbers.
He called for more support in completing hostels, building a new library and ICT block to cater for increasing demands for private study.
“The college has the capacity to construct staff houses through real-life projects but needs more financial support to do this,” he said. This approach to practical training has benefited everybody – the learners have acquired skills and the college has got facilities.”
He acknowledged that UTC Kichwamba would benefit from a five-year World Bank grant, along with Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba, reserved for the Albertine Region Sustainable Development project.
In addition, the four other technical colleges, Elgon, Lira, Bushenyi and Kyema will be supported by the World Bank, under Skills Development project, starting this year.
In line with the Albertine Region Sustainable Development project, UTC Kichwamba is carrying out a curriculum review in consultation with Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, Netherlands, that will address the international requirements of the international oil and gas industry as well as renewable energy.