Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (Ubteb) has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with three organisations to ensure that education institutions produce skilled workforce.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on April 13, Ubteb executive secretary, Dr Onesimus Oyesigye, said the country needs to boost its income and employment with competent and self-reliant citizens.
“Every year, industry [captains] complain about the quality of our graduates. Now that we have employers of the graduates on board, we shall be able to produce ready products for the market,” Oyesigye said.
In line with the 2012/13 2021/22 Skilling Uganda strategy, Oyesigye said Ubteb would ensure that quality competence-based assessment is enhanced with the aim of producing skilled personnel for global and regional markets.
Ubteb signed the MOU with Uganda Manufacturers' Association (UMA), Uganda Association of Private Vocational Institutions (UGAPRIVI) and Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association (COUPSTA).
UGAPRIVI national chairman Adrian Ndemere said the partnership had come at a time when several private institutions were graduating students every year with unaccredited programmes.
“As an association, we have 862 known private vocational institutions but also, over 300 don’t care to belong to any association or coalition,” Ndemere said. “These are institutions we need to help because they have good intentions to offer skills but are either not guided or get difficulties in registering for examination centers.”
During the ministry of education crackdown on illegal institutions early this year, at least two private institutions, Okwang technical vocational school and Central technical school in Otuke district, were closed.
According to Mubaraka Nkuutu Kirunda, the acting executive director of Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), the MOU would help in developing skills of students at all education levels that are abreast with theory but lack practical and entrepreneurial skills.
“Whenever students graduate, we aim at jubilating with posh graduation parties for the same graduands that don’t have the right [skills] for the job market,” Nkuutu said, adding that the Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy will not be successful if institutions continue to churn out unemployable students that are not innovative.
Currently, UMA is undertaking a project in public universities where students are linked to various companies for about three months while on internship to improve their skills.
Nkuutu said this arrangement, which has seen at least 40 per cent of students retained by some companies, needs to be extended to private institutions by government.
COUPSTA executive director Patrick Kaboyo pledged to sensitise teachers on ensuring that beside the written homework given to learners, they are also engaged in practical projects to improve their skills.