THE Ministry of Education and Sports has signed three MoUs worth USD 5.5million for strengthening the linkages between the Private Sector and the public universities
By Vision Reporter
THE Ministry of Education and Sports has signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU’s) worth USD 5.5million (14.5bn/=) for strengthening the linkages between the Private Sector and the public universities.
This is part of the Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST) Project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Government of Uganda at a cost of USD 115 million.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr. Rose Nassali Lukwago said the HEST Project aims to contribute to building Uganda’s human capital skills development capacity—particularly in education, science and technology—to respond to labour market demands and spur productivity nationally.
Its objective is to improve equitable access, quality and relevance of skills training and research leading to job creation and self-employment.
She applauded the occasion as the beginning of a long and overdue linkage between universities and the productive sector, especially in the industry sector, and other worldwide institutions of excellence in their fields.
“This is the beginning of what is going to be a very fruitful and rewarding linkage between the world of industry and academia. We are striving to contribute to the development of relevant and a highly skilled workforce that can spur productivity and national development.”
She appealed to the private sector to give feedback on what the relevant skills needed in industry are; such that the curriculum is aligned towards those needs.
The MoUs have been signed with the Private Sector Foundation for Uganda (PSFU) who will design and implement incubation centres in the eight beneficiary institutions. It is expected that this will result in the enhancement of production/business incubation centres emerging from research, and technology innovations.
The incubation centres will be used to nurture students’ research into ideas that are relevant to industry. The AfDB is providing USD 3.2million (UGX 8.2bn/=) to be utilized to operationalize and equip these incubation centres.
MoUs have also been signed with Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). UMA will secure placement and also provide support supervision for industrial training for an estimated 2,000 students at a cost of USD 1.1million.
CIAT will supervise and provide full scholarships for 8 students in areas of agriculture that are relevant to national development leading to scaling out and multiplication of research outputs in industry at a cost of USD 504,000.
The Commissioner Higher Education Mr. Robert Odok Oceng emphasized the need for strengthened linkage with industry in order to have graduates who are skilled and productive if the country is to be able to compete favourably and benefit from the East African Community integration.
He noted the need for improvement in Uganda’s competitiveness in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). He attributed this to the weaknesses in the training of STI capacity. Higher level skills training is mainly done in public universities that are facing major shortfalls such as poor infrastructure and equipment, insufficient qualified staff and inadequate research capacities.
The Project Coordinator of the HEST Project, Eng. John Omeke said that the three MoUs will be implemented within the next three years. The Project is being implemented at the six public universities (Makerere, Mbarara, Gulu, Muni, Busitema and Gulu Universities) and two degree awarding institutions (Uganda Management Institution and Makerere University Business School (MUBS)).
Another project component will fund the training of at least 104 academic and management staff at PhD and Masters levels, with focus on Science, Technology and Innovation and critical areas of institutional management, entrepreneurship, governance, public-private partnerships development models, maintenance and sustainability.
The PSFU and UMA were represented by their Executive Directors, Mr. Gideon Badagawa and Mr. Ssebaggala Kigozi respectively; while CIAT was represented by Dr. Clare Mukanakusi, the country Coordinator for Uganda.
Education ministry signs sh14.5bn deal with universities