By Innocent Anguyo
DESPITE being given the freedom to compete constructively with public universities in the liberalised education sector, private universities should not duplicate programmes, the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has cautioned.
Mbabazi was speaking as chief guest at the 10th Kampala International University (KIU) graduation ceremony at the institution’s main campus in Kampala.
“While competition is healthy, it is in our national strategic interest for our private universities to strive to compliment the efforts of the public universities and not necessarily duplicate programmes,” said Mbabazi.
Mbabazi also told universities to avoid designing cheaper courses which are not relevant for Uganda’s strategic development needs saying they should rather find the complementarity between theoretical knowledge and practical skills required of today’s graduates.
He noted that the country was faced with a skills gap despite universities graduating 400,000 students annually.
“The lack of skilled human resources is associated with quality issues in the education system including low school completion rates, limited capacity in the vocational and technical training institutions and brain drain,” Mbabazi reiterated.
He also blamed the curriculum and the methods of training for not adequately preparing graduates to globally competitive standards.
The prime minister called on all universities to build synergies with the government and industry so that the national Vision 2040 can be achieved.
“A massive increase in skilled labour and its redeployment to the production of the value added export-oriented goods and services is what Uganda needs to attain a higher per capita income in the face of a rapidly rising population,” he added.
On poor pay for civil servants, Mbabazi said government had chosen to invest in the infrastructure rather than incurring recurrent costs such as paying high salaries on grounds that infrastructure would fuel growth to support provision of minimum wage.
KIU graduated 3,286 students this year. 547 got masters degree, 25 postgraduate diplomas and 2475 bachelors’ degree.
Shirly Shiff, the managing director of Bolton International Limited and Steve Omenge, the Board Chairman of Kenya’s Insurance Regulatory Authority were each awarded Honorary Doctorate of Science for their immense contribution to humanity.
KIU chancellor John Ssebuwufu urged the graduates to emulate Microsoft founder Bill Gates and create their own jobs rather than waiting for the "dream job" from another employer.
Hassan Basajjabalaba, the KIU Board of Trustees chairman asked the institution to put emphasis on producing masters’ graduates for medical courses so that lack of tutors in the discipline can be stemmed.