KAMPALA – Uganda Business and Technical Examination Board (UBTEB) has requested additional funding to help cater for the unit cost of assessment of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) trainees and the completion of the UBTEB Assessment Centre Construction Project.
Speaking at the release of April-May 2023 end of Programme examination results on Thursday, August 10, 2023, Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha, the UBTEB Board chairperson said the untimely release of funds and budget cuts by the government has affected the implementation of key projects.
“I do make an appeal for more funding for this project because its completion implies a reduction of high costs accruing from renting of various premises for the Board’s operations,” Dr. Mugisha said.
He said that the construction of the five-storey UBTEB Assessment Centre project that started in 2022 stands at 22% though below schedule due to the untimely release of funds and budget cuts by the government.
Dr. Mugisha who has overseen transformational changes at UBTEB also emphasized the importance of increasing government funding for TVET to adequately cover the cost of running practical assessments.
“Increasing government funding for TVET could adequately cover the cost of running practical assessments. This would ultimately lead to the production of quality graduates who can effectively compete in the job market,” she said, adding that there is also an urgent need to strengthen the use of ICT in TVET Institutions to enable innovation, research, and feeding of the Examinations Information Management System.
He urged the government to take a deliberate intervention to boost TVET delivery with; additional ICT equipment for both private and public TVET delivery centers; and a framework for free access to Industrial Training by TVET trainees in all corners of the Industry.
Mr. Onesmus Oyesigye, UBTEB’s Executive Secretary said the conduct of practical on-spot assessments has remained costly to both the board and the institutions-calling for more funding for enhanced hands-on training and assessment for better skills acquisition.
“Inadequate equipment like computers in institutions, high cost of internet connectivity services still remained a challenge to most centres,” Mr. Oyesigye said, stating that the TVET is expensive, and the unit cost keeps changing with the price of items used.
He added that schools are finding it hard to teach learners due to ever-increasing material prices, with government funding of 1800 shillings per learner per day.
Oyesigye said institutions need to be guided to take students for frequent industrial exposure to gain real-life practical experience that is applicable to the working environment.
UBTEB’s Executive Secretary commended UBTEB Board members under the chairmanship of Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha for the continued policy guidance and strategic direction offered to the Secretariat.
Education Minister Janet Museveni commended UBTEB for fast-tracking the TVET reforms and their implementation in order to deliver the Board’s mandate.
“I am in particular grateful to the Board for the continued collaborations with the industry and TVET Development Partners that support Government’s call on delivering TVET that is Employer-led. This will enable our country to achieve her dream of raising a critical mass of artisans and technicians,” she said in a speech read by State Minister John Chrysostom Muyingo.
She urged private players in the industrial sector to be involved more in the curriculum development, training, and assessment of TVET graduates.
She acknowledged the urgency of the issues raised by the board chairperson and ordered the technical team to work with relevant authorities to address them.
“I understand the challenges and issues articulated by both the Executive Secretary and the Board Chairperson affecting TVET assessment and I urge my technical team to work closely with the Board to address them,” she said.
Ms. Ketty Lamaro, the Permanent Secretary said that the Ministry has provided admission opportunities for trainees with special needs as well as female trainees through scholarships to pursue prestigious TVET courses.
She said the development will help to bridge the gender gap by increasing the number of female trainees in TVET institutions across the country.
“We encourage Principals of TVET centres to cater to students with special needs,” she said.
On assessment, UBTEB has reported a high success rate in the recently concluded examinations.
Out of the 8,538 candidates who sat for examinations, 6,913 Candidates (81%) successfully acquired all competencies in their respective trades.
Oyesigye said that female candidates 3,931 (57%) successfully completed the programmes compared to male candidates with 2,982 (43%).
He indicated that there was a very good performance exhibited in the Physical and Biological Science diploma End of programme with an 82% pass rate.
Other categories of programmes were also done well with completion rates above 70%, he indicated.
However, the board has identified a gap in the number of candidates who acquired full competence in learners pursuing leather tanning and production, welding and metal fabrication, woodwork technology, and machining and fitting.