As unemployment rate escalates among the youth university students have demanded for the creation of more vocational technical institutions to create jobs for themselves
By Francis Emorut
As unemployment rate escalates among the youth university students have demanded for the creation of more vocational technical institutions to create jobs for themselves.
The university students who made the call are undergraduates of Makerere, Kyambogo, Uganda Martyrs Nkozi, Cavendish universities and Makerere Business School.
The students were speaking during a public dialogue on promoting structural transformation for employment creation, improved livelihoods and sustainable development at Makerere University in Kampala.
The dean, School of libral and performing arts at Makerere University, Dr. Patrick Mangeni, addressing participants during a public dialogue on promoting structural transformation for employment creation at campus on March 3, 2015. Photo/ Francis Emorut
The public dialogue aimed at raising students' awareness and understanding on the importance of structural transformation for employment creation and sustainable development was organised by Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute.
Annually, over 28 universities in the country channel out 400,000 graduates to compete for 9,000 jobs available in the job market.
Available figures at Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicate that 63% of youth are jobless.
A cross-section of University students during a public dialogue on promoting structural transformation for employment creation at Makerere University on March 3, 2015.The public dialogue attracted students from Kyambogo, Makerere, MUBs and Gavendesh universities and they called for creation of more vocational schools so as to create employment. Photo by Francis Emorut
According to Dr. Jane Egau, the assistant commissioner in the ministry of education and sports there are 34 technical institutions, 29 technical schools and five technical colleges in the country which admit senior four, primary seven and senior six leavers respectively.
The university students blamed the education system the country has had since independence which emphasizes theory rather than practical.
"Government should create more vocational schools in the country so that the youth can create their own employment," Cosmas Okello, a third year student of development studies at Makerere Univesity said.
Okello was supported by Arnold Asiimwe, a third year student of business administration at Makerere Business School who said there is need to overhaul the education system in the country that is practical oriented.
"We need to transform the education system which imparts skills rather than theory to students," Asiimwe said.
Denis Aula, a third year student of development studies at Kyambogo university criticized fellow students who want government to create jobs for them saying they should develop their own talents that can enable them earn a living.
"Change your mind set before you start blaming government. Know what you want and develop your own talent," Aula said.
The students also called for the development of a policy on industrial training where they are attached for training while studying.
The undergraduates also blamed bureaucratic tendencies, corruption, poor policies and demand of experience as source of unemployment.
The Makerere University associate Professor and head of department development studies, Dr. Godfrey Asiimwe disagreed with students on theory education approach saying it was inevitable for policy formulation.
"I disagree with people who say theory is useless, it's a tool that designs policy. You can't take short cut," Asiimwe told students.
"If you don't think through theory you would end up making wrong policies."
Asiimwe blamed the blotted government administration as a source of unemployment.
He argued that having district internal security officers (DISOs) and resident district commissioners and their deputies in each district is not necessary.
He also condemned the practice of giving youth handouts that it will not solve the problem of unemployment.
"Instead of giving them fish, teach them how to fish," he said.
The Makerere University dean school of liberal and performing arts, Dr. Patrick Mangeni pointed out that there are job opportunities in entertainment industry that students should embrace.
"There are jobs in entertainment industry. We need to create capacity where students are able to use knowledge gained in training to create jobs for themselves," Mangeni said.
"Entertainment is the fastest growing industry in the world."
He also called for strengthening of internship programmes to acquaint students with work related activities.
Recommendations made include;
- streamlining policies that favour employment creation,
- developing robust policies on trade agreements negotiations,
- enforcing the role of the State to enhance social transformation rather than leaving it to the private sector;
- promoting innovation and creativity,
- inclusion of youth in decision making processes and
- creation of information asymmetry on oil resources.
University students ask for more technical schools