KAMPALA – Despite the government’s effort to provide education and training at various levels, the country is still facing the challenge of deficits in the supply of skilled human resources leading to a ‘skills gap’.
“The government has committed significant resources to training and up-skilling programs to help re-integrate people into the labour market.
“Entrepreneurship development is highly regarded as critical for economic growth and development in this country,” Ambassador Julius Onen said.
The Trade Permanent Secretary, made the remark during the 6th Graduation ceremony of Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC) this afternoon at the Institute.
He said that the paradigm shift will only be propelled if we continue to support vocationalisation of training, as is being undertaken by MTAC, a government Agency mandated to building capacity for entrepreneurship development; duly accredited by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).
In line with vision 2040 and national Development Plan 11 and the NRM manifesto, MTAC has continued to offer entrepreneurship drives to equip people with requisite skills in accounting, business administration, ICT, human resource management and public administration.
Most importantly, MTAC is undertaking critical skills training in candle making, soap making, shoemaking, bakery and cookery, hairdressing among others.
These are essential skills that easily make an individual a job creator rather than a job seeker and there are plans to extend this training to all institutions.
According to Onen, Uganda has made notable progress in increasing literacy and access to education at all levels.
Access to Universal primary Education (UPE) increased from 2.5m students in 1997 to over 8m today.
The introduction of Universal Secondary education (USE) and Universal Post Primary Education Training (UPPET) in 2007 increased secondary school enrolment by 25% within the first two years only- from 814,087 in 2006 to 1,088,744 in 2008.
In the same period, enrolment in Business, technical and Vocational Educational and Training (BTVET) increased by 46% from 25,682 to 47,298.
Access to higher education has been tremendously boosted through liberalization of higher education and continued government sponsorships in Tertiary Institutions like MTAC and Public Universities.
Higher education is promoted through student loan scheme in higher education institutions and emphasis on skills development through the skilling Uganda programme.
MTAC Acting Executive director, Soteri Karanzi Nabeeta explained that the institution has 1,146 students who have completed different courses and due for graduation this year 2018.
Of these, 768 (66%) are females and 379(33%) are male. During the 5th graduation ceremony in 2017, 989 students graduated.
This accounts for 15% increase in graduates from last year. This shows how far the centre has come since it started the diploma and certificates courses in 2006.
“The graduands here present completed their programmes and courses of study from MTAC Centres in Nakawa, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Luwero, Mbarara and Iganga.
The graduands who completed their programmes and courses of study from MTAC Centres in Mbale and Pader will be awarded diplomas and certificates in recognition of their achievements on Friday, November 2018 at MTAC Mbale.
“ln today’s graduation, we witness a growth in numbers of students enrolled on vocational courses. Of the 1,146 graduands, 309 (26%) have completed vocational courses. This represents a 25% former students were awarded certificates in vocational courses. This means that our people’s mindset towards vocational courses is getting increasingly positive and should be supported,” Karanzi noted.
This 2018 cohort has a special category of graduands who were mobilized out of Hon. Amelia Kyambadde’s passion for the disadvantaged people in our society.
89 vendors in Kampala city, largely composed of women and youths also graduated in vocational training in bakery and cookery, shoemaking and leather Works, Tailoring, Fashion and Design and hairdressing and Cosmetology.
However, most of their counterparts were unable to complete their courses for various reasons (a) lack of support from their husbands (b) lack of money for transport and materials for practical sessions; and (c) love for quick earnings.