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Should you really care about ''Skilling Uganda''?

By Conan Businge

Added 20th November 2012 05:48 PM

GOVERNMENT plans to work with private investors, both the employers–the demand side of skills, and private training providers –supply side

GOVERNMENT plans to work with private investors, both the employers–the demand side of skills, and private training providers –supply side

By Conan Businge

A NUMBER of new education programmes may not make sense to you. But this had better do. If you ignore the new ‘Skilling Uganda’ programme, take it from me, you will be headed for a real loss.

Skills development and certification for learners, billions of shillings for investors in the construction industry and profits accruing from tuition paid to private investors, is just a handful of the available investment opportunities under ‘Skilling Uganda.’

This new sh2trillion programme, to run for a decade, is just one great potential to tap in if you are serious.

Government plans to work with private investors, both the employers–the demand side of skills, and private training providers –supply side. International experience shows that effective and relevant skills development systems invariably are built on strong alliances with employers and the business sector.

Uganda employers, till of recent, have been passive beneficiaries of technical-vocational training. However, private firms show an increasing interest in skills development. Notable examples include the construction and oil sector.

Immediate priority will be to develop and put in place skills development programmes for the oil industry. At least 10,000 jobs can be created directly and indirectly during the initial phase of oil extraction in the country.

The oil industry has already indicated its interest to drive the training process from identification, through to delivery. The sector has potential to spearhead the implementation of the Strategic Plan by producing “quick wins” and produce examples for other sectors.

The certificates will easily help them obtain jobs anywhere in the world, since they will be recognised like the case with other national examination bodies. 

Private providers will receive access to all support schemes offered to BTVET institutions and will be assisted with public subsidies if they invest in under-saved regions and build training supply in priority occupations.

Labour market information indicates training needs in the ICT and hospitality sectors, for service professionals at higher qualification levels, in metal and machinery occupations, construction technologies and machine operators, modern mechanics, and oil and gas technologies.

Skills, according to official survey made, are still lacking in energy and environment technologies. The National Development Plan priorities further call for a re-adjustment of health training to meet the country’s health targets.

Uganda’s informal sector operates at low levels of productivity and employment has declined in the recent years.

But the informal sector remains a stronghold of employment, accounting for almost 60% of non-agricultural employment in Uganda. Increased productivity in the informal sector requires, improves skills and it is the same reason the country is centering its education on skills development.

However, the BTVET system has largely neglected the training needs for informal sector employment. There is no systematic approach to skills development for people already in, or expected to enter the informal sector. Much of the training is demand driven, not based on market assessments and only duplicates formal sector training at very low levels.

It is also true that some effective programmes cannot be replicated due to lack of information exchange and resources.

There will also be expansion and upgrading of training facilities. Considerable resources, Dr. Jane Egau Okou who is in-charge of the Skilling Uganda’s Task Force’s publicity, says will be invested to improve and expand the training infrastructure for agriculture training.

Generally, the Strategic Plan seeks to improve existing training institutions, rather than build new ones, but agriculture is an exception. During the plan, existing agricultural farm schools will be upgraded and converted into Agricultural Skills Development Centres.

Training facilities will be upgraded in the District Agricultural Training and Information Centres; one new Centre will be built in Northern Uganda, currently undersupplied with agricultural training. More so Bukalasa Agricultural College and the Fisheries Institute will be upgraded to Centres of Excellence and new specialised departments established in all agricultural training centres.

There will also be strengthening of competency based training and the linkages of BTVET institutions with research, industry and farmers.

By 2020, 70% of employers must be satisfied with competencies of BTVET graduates and that 80% of BTVET graduates entering the market must have found employment or get self-employed.

It is also under plan that there is an enhanced role of business community and employers in this sub-sector.

The Universal Vocational Qualifications Framework will be legally recognised in the next eight years. There will also be a continuous adjustment of programmes and curricula in response to changing needs of the labour market.

There are also plans by 2020 to have a share of UTC graduates of all tertiary institutions increased to 40%. At least 50% of all post-secondary BTVET enrolment should be covering all the countries priority areas.

GOVERNMENT plans to work with private investors, both the employers–the demand side of skills, and private training providers –supply side

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