LAST week, the Job Stimulus Programme was launched with a convention in Bunyoro attended by 2,000 youth.
The initiative aimed at creating jobs and youth employment could not have come at a better time. For long, development experts have expressed concern about Ugandaâ€™s huge young population with many educated youths not gainfully employed because of preference for white collar jobs.
This has been blamed on an education system that produces theoretical rather than practical graduates for the job market.
Finance minister, Maria Kiwanukaâ€™s announced that they would work with their education counterparts to review the school curriculum and include entrepreneurship and basic business management skills in the early years of education.
Though entrepreneurship and basic business management courses exist at higher education levels, there is very little at the lower secondary and primary education levels yet this is where most students drop out of school. By the time some students get to higher levels, many others have missed out.
The new programme offers another opportunity for the youth to get skills training through non-formal vocational training and then access funding for setting up projects. This is another positive move away from earlier schemes that gave start-up grants with no training and today have no results to show.
While the sh44b initiative will spur a saving culture by giving grants only to those with some savings, it could achieve much more if part of the fund is used to improve and expand the vocational training sector which is still ill-equipped, under-funded and less accessible. These would benefit even the in-school and other disadvantaged youth who may not yet have an income to make a saving.
The programme has definitely started on the right footing, but implementers should be open to other options that would enhance the programme and make it more inclusive.