Refocus education priorities, Govt told

By Nelson Kiva

Prof. Sylvain Gauthier said it is wrong for Uganda’s education system to stay stuck to the trends that European countries dropped more than 40 years ago.

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The Government has been tasked to refocus its education priorities towards skilling majority of the young population into modern agricultural technologies.

Prof. Sylvain Gauthier, an educationist and a dean of business and management faculty at International University of East Africa in Kampala, said agriculture should be fully incorporated into the education system of Uganda.

He said agricultural potentials of Uganda have been under exploited because agricultural professionalization has been neglected.

“The population of Uganda is not much. The land is fertile, with good weather. It is absurd that the country cannot produce enough for its people,” he said.

Addressing journalists at the university campus in Kansanga, Gauthier said the creation of more agro-based institutions, including universities and support through bursary schemes to the very poor students to access them, is necessary.

“Developed countries such as the US have since switched to education systems that promote productive agriculture, because a country without enough food for its people and export cannot transform,” he said.

He said the developing petroleum sector should not excite Ugandans, they should instead concentrate on agriculture.

“Apart from physical infrastructure and partly stabilization of the petroleum sector prices, it will not eliminate household poverty as agriculture would do,” Gauthier said.

“In a scenario where over 75% of the graduates are unemployed, it suggests a messy education system with the elite lacking competent skills to undertake their own employment initiatives,” he added.

Gauthier maintained it was wrong for Uganda’s education system to stay stuck to the trends of education that European countries dropped more than 40 years ago.

He added that government should support private institutions to work a longside it in streamlining the education system.

“It is not proper to only consider students in public universities or other institutions of higher learning  for government scholarships,” he said.