KAMPALA — Prof.Wasswa Balunywa, the Principal Makerere University Business School (MUBS) has underscored the importance of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) in achieving the country’s industrialisation goal as envisioned in vision 2040.
Speaking during the maiden blended National TVET Conference held in Kampala and attended by scholars, researchers, trainers and trainees within the sector, Prof Balunywa, who gave a keynote address noted that innovation, research and dissemination of information towards enterprise development is the baseline and key towards industrialization.
The Conference, organized by Ministry of Education and Enabel, the Belgian development agancy, attracted various researchers across the country and outside to share their research findings that will lead to publication in a peer-referenced journal.
Balunywa emphasized the importance of youths engaging in innovation and being useful citizens by participating in developmental agenda for prosperity.
Prof Balunywa indicated that government needs to intervene and ensure that they put in place mechanisms to train TVET teachers into the new skills and also support them to benchmark with the countries that are already progressing in digital skills.
“We are teaching very old skills, which skills are being phased out in other parts of the world,” he said, adding that: “To me, there’s need for a reform in the education sector so that our propriety goes to skills right from primary. There’s some skills you can put in primary, in Secondary and some skills in specialized technical institutions”.
He also pointed out that Uganda needs a technical university to be able to train technologists to increase the skills that the country needs in its development aganda.
Balunywa also noted that if the youths are engaged and become part and parcel of economic drivers, the delinquencies experienced will reduce and set the country’s development on a progressive mode, thus making them useful in the society.
He indicates that the ministry of education can start preparing slowly by slowly to ensure that in the future the manpower produced by TVET Institutions are not out-competed by the foreigners on tenders due to lack of modern technology.
Ministry Education commissioner in charge of TVET education, Loy Muhwezi told the conference that government is aware of all these issues, noting that they are captured in the 2019 TVET policy.
However, she explained that implementors have to go step by step on operationalizing the reforms in the policy.
She said that the 2019 TVET policy captures all the issues raised by Prof Balunywa and other speakers, but “it lacks implementation.”
“The TVET policy guides in how reforms should take place. So, what we’re supposed to do now is to ensure that we operationalise the policy,” she said.
Muhwezi said government needs enough time to operationalise the policy, noting that the reforms can’t be done in one day.
“We are going to work very closely with the industry and through this conference we challenge the TVET institutions to come up with very robust Industrial liaison team in reforming assessment and placement,” she added.
She called upon the youths to embrace TVET, adding that soon the Ministry will make a pathway for higher education in the sector.
She said they started with recruiting and training trainers and assessors, they changed the selection and placement of the TVET students from the centralized system to the regional level to enable the recruitment of the interested people.
“I want to encourage youths who dropped out of school that this will not be the end of them, we are restructuring to enable even a primary six drop out to be able to access the education and study gradually up to professorship level,” she reiterated.
On his part, Dr. Edwin Tana, from Kenya Technical Teachers College while sharing his experience and expertise about TVET, also highlighted that investing in TVET trainers is a major weapon to achieving the objective.
He said TVET teachers should be able to tell what the industry requires and train their learners in that line but also they should be able to have an influence on the job market if they can be innovative.
Tana noted that TVETs is one of the most successful programs that are impacting on the youth in providing solutions to problems through innovations in Kenya.