MPs: Skilling programme unsuitable for country

Parliament.
Government’s plan to roll out the Skilling Uganda programme has been placed under scrutiny after Parliament’s committee on Education cited gaps in its implementation strategy.

MPs yesterday tasked officials from the Skilling Uganda Reform Task Force to explain the roll out plan of the project, which is aimed at creating employable skills and competencies relevant in the labour market.
The programme is expected to kick off in February next year to enroll 5,000 students in 25 new technical and vocational institutions in districts, including, Lwengo, Kamuli, Mbale, Soroti, Gulu and Kyenjojo.

However, the legislators demanded a revisit of the plan, terming it as a “sheer duplication” of the existing Business, Technical, Vocational Education Training (BTVET) strategic plan under the Ministry of Education.

“Do we want to skill every Ugandan or a small section? If you are skilling every Ugandan, then you would have to look at the whole education system using primary, secondary and higher education. This plan ceases to be Skilling Uganda because it looks at a small section,” Mr William Kwemara, the committee vice chairperson, said.
“Does skilling mean building institutions and technical schools? We may have to revisit and enhance this strategic plan,” he added.

Funding
Last week, the Minister of Education, Ms Jessica Alupo, said government had secured a Shs200 billion loan from Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Islamic Development Bank and Oil Producing and Exporting Countries to kick-start the programme.

Ms Sylvia Namabidde (Mityana Woman) said with the attitude Ugandans have on technical institutions, it would be prudent for the task force to amend the policy to pull students towards the programme.

“We are still talking about building technical schools in a country which thinks vocational education is second hand. However many schools you build, people will still yearn for research-based degrees. So can we look at the Act again?” Ms Namabidde aised.

However, Mr Jimmy Twebaze, the management aiser on the taskforce, said the strategic plan is aimed at fixing skills deficit among Ugandans, including the elderly and youths.
The MPs also demanded that the programme is relocated from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Education for proper monitoring.

oeyotaru@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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