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Over 2,000 to get tuition-free technical training

Korean ambassador Park Sung Soo interacts with the state minister for Higher Education, Dr John Muyingo, at the project launch

Korean ambassador Park Sung Soo interacts with the state minister for Higher Education, Dr John Muyingo, at the project launch

In a bid to improve youth employability, the Education ministry and the Korea Interna- tional Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have launched a partnership that will see at least 2,400 students study fully-paid short-term training courses in technical and vocational fields, writes YUDAYA NANGONZI.

The state minister for Higher Education Dr John Muyingo, said the government has positioned skills development as strong pillar for development but trainees are still held back by negative attitudes toward vocational education and training.

He insisted that youths need the right mindset and set of skills required by the world of work to enable them to earn a living and become not only self- reliant, but also contribute to national development.

The Capacity Building for Industry Demand Based Technical, Vocational Education, and Training (TVET) in Uganda project was officially launched at Golf Course hotel in Kampala last week.

“This new project aims to ensure that the skills acquired by the youth are those that are demanded by the industry. This intervention, if well executed, will strengthen the capacity of vocational training by empowering instructors at vocational institutes to deliver short-term courses and effectively utilise the educational training equipment that is now available in most vocational institutions," Muyingo said.

The six-month short course in plumbing, automotive mechanics, fashion and garment design, welding and fabrication, and electrical installation systems and maintenance are supported by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) as a partner organization with KOICA.

The application deadline for trainees has been fixed for December 16, 2022, while the courses are scheduled for January to June 2023. The participating technical institutions areArua, Iganga, Kiryandongo, Mubende, Nyakatare and Ntinda.

Besides skilling students, the project will also retool 180 TVET trainers to deliver demand-based industry training. Some instructors will also undertake off-shore training in Korea while Tech Fairs set to benefit 600 participants will be organised to help expose trainees to a wide range of technologies and open their minds to innovative ideas. According to the director of Higher Technical Education and Training,

Dr Jane Egau Okou, the project was conceived out of the identified need that whereas KOICA had rehabilitated five technical institutes and established one in Ntinda, there were still gaps in the capacity to link them with industry.

It was further noted that the instructors were not able to effectively utilize, manage and maintain the newly acquired equipment and also deliver the curriculum relevant to the needs of industry.

“Although the project was approved in 2020, it was delayed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 until November 2021 when an MOU was finally signed. The government of Korea agreed to provide an additional grant of $7m (about Shs 26.7bn) to support the project. The overall goal is to enhance the quality of TVET from 2020 to 2027," Egau said.

SIGNIFICANCE

In his remarks, the Korean ambassador, Park Sung Soo, said the project is very significant for the future of Uganda.

“Uganda is a very young society. This means she possesses a promising, dynamic and energetic future, but the situation could be a little precarious
if the young people weren’t included in a shared future. The future of this young nation lies in how to educate them as competitive manpower. More crucially, technical and vocational education cannot be underrated, and through this kind of education more youth will have job opportunities,” Sung said.

He urged the education ministry to work closely with KOICA “in the best possible way” to take the employability of Ugandan youths a notch up.

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