By Innocent Anguyo
KAMPALA - The Makerere University Staff Association (MUASA) is seeking the contribution of employers in the private sector in reforming the institution’s curriculum to produce graduates that are aptly tailored for the job market.
Dr Muhammad Kiggundu, the chairperson of MUASA, says the move is aimed at aligning university education to the skills essential for the current job market.
“We have resolved to have regular consultative meetings with the private sector and this is aimed at focusing our curriculum courses to produce graduates relevant to the economy.
Soon we shall take the private sector on a tour of the campus,” he told a press conference recently.
The partnership with the private sector would eventually cut on the unemployment levels of Makerere University graduates, on top of also introducing the private sector to investment opportunities at the oldest university in Uganda.
Dr Kiggundu predicts this cooperation “will be alternative way of generating income for Makerere [university] other than depending on raising fees which is an inconvenience to students and parents, especially the poor ones”.
The MUASA chairman went on to commend media company Vision Group for taking prior initiative to support the department of journalism of Makerere University. He noted that the computers donated to the department by Vision Group have improved the learning process.
A recent study conducted by New Vision however revealed that the private sector – specifically businesses – were responsible for provision of only 16.8% of jobs in the domestic market.
The study revealed that government carries the largest employment burden in the country, up to a tune of 49.2%. The study was based on 1000 jobs advertised in the New Vision last year.
But Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enterprise Uganda, thinks otherwise.
He insists the private sector is the largest employer in the country and that since the study was based on jobs advertised in the newspaper, it left out several jobs in the private sector.
Ocici has recently said that the weak link between the job market and the universities is partly behind the large unemployment rate in Uganda.
Findings of a recent study conducted by Action Aid International Uganda (AAIU), Uganda National NGO Forum and Development Research and Training (DRT) reveal that 62% of Ugandan youth are jobless.
On the Makerere University-private sector partnership, Geoffrey Masikin, the general manager of Orca Furniture welcomed the move saying it would give employers an opportunity to “sow what they are likely to reap”.
Matata Faustino, a university student, said the partnership would allow them to get introduced to potential employers.