The institute has a 120-capacity storied dormitory for boys, kitchen, one storied staff house plus non-teaching staff block, three workshops, three study rooms, library and ICT lab
Some 12 kilometers from Kamuli town on the main way to Jinja, is Nawanyago sub-county headquarters in Kamuli district. The dilapidated buildings at the local government precinct indicate it has been around for ages.
Adjacent to the grounds, a murram route possessing a contemporary signpost leads further inwards towards an imposing gate. From a distance, the freshly built and duly fenced storied structures stand out conspicuously behind the entry point. This is Nawanyago Technical institute.
Learners with bags stroll to and from the Nawanyago technical institute, set up almost two years ago at the hitherto bushy environs.
At the Information, Communication and Technology department, 15 newly installed computers are already being utilised by students. The whining sound from the air-conditioning system is the only background noise in the silent room.
On the other side of the storied complex, hair-dressing studies are in progress. The tutor keeps monitoring the students; giving tips here and there.
In the classroom opposite the principal’s office, the clattering resonance of sewing machines indicates that the tailoring session is underway. Each learner carefully labels whatever piece has been sewn before dropping it in the box placed at the front.
The echo resulting from the group cutting up fabrics blends rather well with that of the sewing crew to cause reverberation all over the block.
A sweet aroma hits the nostrils from the kitchen department. This is where the catering students are doing their thing. The hot atmosphere is no setback for the team chopping up irish potatoes to prepare chips.
Their colleagues busily grate meat to generate minced meat. Within no time, some appetising meat-balls are on table.
Rose Martha Kumwiza, the principal explains that 75 students have been enrolled for informal three-month courses as they await UCE results.
“We are informally training these learners comprised mainly of jobless youths and holiday makers. They are acquiring skills in ICT, hairdressing, tailoring and catering,” Kumwiza says.
She reveals that the arrangement was made so as not to leave the facility unused until O’ level results are out to enable formal intake.
“The district woman MP and speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga linked us to Turkish donors who donated US$50,000 worth of catering and tailoring equipment. Once the consignment reached here on December 7 last year, we started non-formal courses immediately,” the principal says.
She identifies the formal courses run by the education ministry as building construction, plumbing as well as welding and metal fabrication.
“For the formal courses, learners taken up after S.4 should have passed Mathematics, English and the relevant science subjects. They would be assessed by Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB),” she says.
Kumwiza adds that non-formal courses include catering, fashion & design plus hairdressing with students to be evaluated by Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT).
Hamuza Yikote, the LC3 chairman of area narrates that Nawanyago sub-county had donated 10acres of land for the establishment of the institute.
“Since it is meant to benefit the local population, councillors unanimously passed the resolution to handover the public land,” Yikote says.
He says civil works at the institute kicked off in January 2014 and the commissioning took place on January 28, 2015.
Kumwiza says the Sh5.8b OPEC Fund For International Development project, done in conjunction with government, was undertaken by Ambitious Construction Company Ltd.
“The institute acquired a 120-capacity storied dormitory for boys, kitchen, one storied staff house plus non-teaching staff block, three workshops, three study rooms, library and ICT lab,” she says.
Hadija Namagembe, a tutor says the dormitory was fully furnished with double-decker metallic beds and cupboard space.
“Under the project arrangement, all rooms had to be furnished with furniture and other accessories like essential machines,” Namagembe says.
She names some of the machines procured as plate metal bending (brake press), plate rolling and shearing equipment.
Kumwiza adds that a piped water supply was equally set up complete with pump and gravitational flow water tank.
“We are assured of a regular water supply as long as there is electricity. Flush toilets in each building require regular water flow,” she adds.
She believes the rain-harvesting mechanism on all buildings equally ensure the availability of alternative sources during possible pump malfunction.
“Each of the buildings on campus is fitted with a lightning arrester as well as a set of fire extinguishers to boost safety,” she says.
Kumwiza narrates that as a way of giving back to the community, locals are used as specimens in practical sessions, benefiting free-of-charge.
“We get the women and hair-dress them at no cost to enable learners acquire vital skills. They equally get manicure and have their clothes sewn,” she says.
Kumwiza says during times of power blackouts, students have to share communal boreholes in the vicinity as not much water has accumulated in the plastic tanks.
“The additional courses taken on as a local arrangement mean more learners. However, only one dormitory is on location and workshops are just for three courses,” she adds.
She says female students have to find room in the nearby trading centre in the meantime as they cannot share with males.
“In fact even the catering department is being housed at the kitchen meaning there is need to get own block in the future,” Kumwiza suggests.
Yikote says there is need to change the people’s negative attitude to vocational education as parents prefer to have their children study from elsewhere.
“Many people associate such training to be for school dropouts and yet the children who go through university may fail to get employment,” Yikote observes.
What others say
Deborah Nambago, teacher
I think vocational education is the way to go. These people go out as finished products ready to put food on their table without begging for money.
Salaamu Musumba, LC5 chief
Nawanyago technical is the answer to joblessness that is everywhere. I would be surprised to still see more youths idling on Kamuli streets when they can go and learn to make money easily.
Deborah Akol, instructor at catering department
My students who have been here for just over one month have already started making money by baking cakes to sell in the trading centre. That is how good the short-term courses are.
Grace Mubiru, student
The training has helped me get skills that can help me boost by income