By Billy Rwothungeyo
More girls should consider pursuing careers in civil aviation, key figures in Uganda’s aviation industry have urged.
Zephania Balidawa, the chairman of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s board of directors made the call at the recently-concluded flight exhibition at the Entebbe International Airport.
“One of the aims of this airshow is to encourage children to pursue careers in aviation. This is an area where we need more leaders, especially the girls. I implore more girls to join the aviation industry,” said the retired pilot and flight operator.
Fellow board director, Dorothy Kaweesi said very few girls have considered careers in aviation because of the stereotype that aviation is a field for boys only.
“My appeal to the girls is that they should work hard and get good grades in science subjects so as to be able to join the aviation industry. Aviation is a very prestigious industry,” she said.
The minimum requirements for pilots after A’level are: 2 principle passes. Physics, Mathematics and Geography are advantageous while the minimum requirements for engineering are: principle passes in A’level Mathematics and Physics Ronald Lodiong, the acting Director of the East African Civil Aviation Academy says of the 110 students at the Soroti based institution, 12 girls are studying to be pilots while four girls want to be flight operators and one is undertaking a maintenance engineering course.
He says this is an improvement since a few years ago there were no female students at the academy. “There is a big change in the numbers (of female students). Girls are now picking interest in the industry,” he said.
The director urged more girls to join the academy as they move away from analogue to digital training in air crafts. The academy now has six digital training aircrafts while three are analogue.
The academy is Uganda’s lone aviation training institution and has produced over 900 aviation professionals operating around the world. Captains Mike Mukula and Francis Babu are among their most known former students.
To qualify as a pilot, Ugandans pay $18,000 (about sh47m) after government subsidised half of the cost. Foreigners part away with $36,000 (about sh95m) for the two and half year course.
Ugandans undertaking an engineering course at the academy pay $14,000 (about sh37m). Foreigners pay $28,000 (about sh74m) .