By John Agaba
The Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), the body mandated to asses and award vocational qualifications in the country, wants sh5.2b to ably carry out its operations.
Ethel Kyobe, the directorate’s Ag. Director said they are operating on an insufficient budget, which undermines their work aimed at promoting, among others, the skilling Uganda program.
In the financial year 2012/2013, Kyobe said the directorate received sh1.1b. However, their proposed budget for financial year 2013/2014 was sh5.2b.
“The funding gap is therefore sh4.1b,” she said.
This was Friday at the release of last year’s BTVET results.
A total of 8,020 candidates registered for assessment in the business, technical and vocational occupations last year.
Emmanuel Bampigga, representing the Industrial Training Council (ITC) chairperson, Prof. Eriabu Lugujjo, said the lack of enough funds posed a big challenge for the directorate to conduct assessments to the required standard of competence.
He said as a result of the insufficient budget allocations, the directorate’s operational costs to function efficiently and effectively was not catered for.
More than 80% of the 8, 020 candidates who registered for assessment in the business and technical vocational occupations last year passed.
A total of 2, 448 candidates registered for assessment under the modular (non-formal) level. Of these, 2, 142 candidates, representing 87%, were successful.
Under level I, 2156 candidates registered for assessment in 17 UVQF occupations; 1,872 passed, representing over 86%.
Of the 3, 403 candidates who were registered under level II, 2, 948, representing over 86%, were successful.
Thirteen candidates were registered for assessment under level III. Of these, 9 were successful, representing over 69%.
The results, released at the UMA Conference Hall in Lugogo Kampala, show that more males compared to females passed the assessment.
Bampigga said the pyramid of human capital in the country was still upside down, with more graduates compared to crafts-persons.
“What we need is 20 crafts-persons for every graduate. The youth, boda-boda riders, and unemployed graduates should be encouraged to enroll into vocation education and training programs,” he said.
He said that the council also wanted the 2008 BTVET Act amended so the directorate becomes a semi-autonomous body able to recruit its own staff and to scale up their salaries.
In an attempt to avert the unemployment challenge and to equip more citizens with hands on skills strategic for Uganda’s development, the government started the Skilling Uganda program, but the advent has not been without challenges, not to say funding.
Bampigga said that stigma and poor attitude of the population towards vocational education also remained a challenge. “The vocational institutions are not as attractive to students. This has led to low enrollment with candidates who are looking for an alternative route,” he said.
Education minister Jessica Alupo promised her ministry would work with the ITC to increase the DIT budget allocation.
She would also request the technical team at the ministry to address the proposal to amend the BTVET Act.
She said the ministry and various development partners were putting in place systems to address both the unemployment and under-employment challenges and to influence the public appreciate the contribution of vocational education and training.
Esther Baroma, a beautician and proprietor of the Baroma Beauty Institute in Mukono district said there is a need for change of attitude towards vocational occupations.
“I started the institute with almost no resources. But as we talk now some of my trainees are self-employed. Many have managed to open their own vocational training centres and they are doing well.”