KAMPALA – Legislators have tasked the Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) to ensure equal distribution of technical institutes around the country.
“The Board should advise the Ministry of Education to spread oil and gas institutions across the country,” said Busia Municipality MP Godfrey Macho, adding that, “why do oil companies like Shell reject working with students examined by UBTEB? Are we not having required certifications?”
The members of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Sports were carrying out an oversight visit to UBTEB on Friday August 2020, 2021.
The Chairperson of the Committee, John Twesigye said unequal distribution of technical institutions in the country is a very important issue that should be addressed.
Jane Awici (NRM, Kaberamaido District) raised concern over the mushrooming technical institutions, saying that majority are tainting the image of the authentic government institutions.
“Many institutions are now claiming to be examined by UBTEB and yet after three years of studying, one has no documents. Have you ever investigated such institutions?” Awici asked.
The Shadow Minister for Education, Brenda Nabukenya advised UBTEB to take lead in streamlining of technical education, saying that there is currently duplication of services, especially with Kyambogo University.
“Kyambogo runs a fully fledged faculty of technical studies. Is this not duplication of courses,” she wondered.
In his response, Chairperson of UBTEB, Dr. Silver Mugisha reassured MPs that technical institutions are equally distributed, adding that these institutions benefit all Ugandans, irrespective of their location.
“These institutions are for all Ugandans; it does not mean that when they are in Masindi, they should only be attended by those in Masindi,” Mugisha said.
He added that the institutions are established in a specialised way, pointing out some of the institutions (Bushenyi technical college for manufacturing, Kichwamba for manufacturing, Elgon for road construction and Kigumba for oil and gas, among others).
Mugisha asked the MPs to streamline the issue of universities assessing courses that are supposed to be assessed by UBTEB.
“This tends to create a little bit of mixed reactions in the industry. That area needs to be streamlined and I hope this committee can help us address that area,” he said.
He added that the absence of a compelling mechanism to ensure cooperation between training institutions and the work industry impacts negatively on the assessment of students.
“This is something that should be included in the legislation. It should be mandatory for government institutions to receive these students for industrial training to enable proper assessments,” he said.
Mugisha added that Ugandan students are rejected by foreign companies because they doubt their capacities, since they are not properly assessed.
The Board Executive Secretary, Onesmus Oyesigye appealed for allocation of Shs26 billion towards the construction of an assessment centre for the Board.
“Initial start-up of Shs4 billion was allocated for financial year 2021/2022 and we thank Parliament for this achievement. The Board will be grateful if it is housed in the modern state of art assessment center, well equipped with workshops,” he said.
Maud Kamatenesi, a Board member and Vice Chancellor Bishop Stuart University urged government to encourage women and girls to enrol in technical institutions.
“We need more women because there are jobs for those with technical skills other than looking for white collar jobs and they instead end up jobless,” she said.