By Samuel Sanya & Vivian Agaba
As unemployment rears its ugly head with fewer new jobs than the number of fresh university graduates in Uganda, more practical, vocational education is being fronted as the solution.
The Prime minister, Amama Mbabazi has said that having more vocational schools to arm the youth with practical skills will create employment for many and accelerate the country’s move towards middle income status.
“Some parents make wrong choices for their children when selecting courses (at universities); this leads to limited opportunities when they get to the job market,
“The emphasis today should be on vocational education as a way to tackle unemployment,” he said at the launch of EMDI Uganda in Nsambya, a Kampala suburb.
EMDI is an Indian based company that offers experience based education. This is the institute’s first branch in Africa and it will be offering UK recognized diplomas.
Peter Kagwa, the EMDI Uganda managing director, pointed out that the Ugandans need to turn what they are passionate about into their career as this will improve the quality of output and boost the growth of the economy.
He noted that there is insufficient training for actors in events management, radio programming, journalism, advertising, design, public relations and wedding planning that meets international standards in Uganda.
“Through EMDI Uganda, we intend to professionalise and grow the vocational industry, bringing it to world class standards,
“We have to bridge the gap between the theoretical classes currently offered in schools and practical application required in the real world and employers today,” Kagwa said.
He pointed out that today’s global advertising expenditure is estimated at over US$500b, but that Uganda and East Africa need people with the required skills set to tap into these vast amounts of money.
Nowshir Engineer, the EMDI global boss pointed out that the institute employs a team of practicing professionals in each course they teach. The professionals will rotate between the EMDI branches in India, Dubai and Uganda.
Every Ugandan should be earning at least sh2.6m annually by the year 2017 in line with plans in the Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan to achieve middle income status.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicates that over 480,000 youth graduate each year with only 100,000 being absorbed into formal employment.
Government intends to promote youth led enterprises to create jobs through the revised National Youth Policy (2011-16).